{Review} Let’s Talk about Love by Claire Kann|Let’s Talk About This Adorable Read!

Let's Talk About LoveLet’s Talk About Love

Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting–working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating–no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.
But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).
When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.

Before you continue on I would like to highlight THIS OWNVOICES REVIEW. They can speak more for the Ace representation for this book (I can only speak for the black and queer rep).

Initial Thoughts

I was pleasantly surprised that this book was read as a Rom Com! I thought the repetitive parenthesis and overall cheesiness of the book would bug me but this honestly had me laughing out loud.  Alice’s thought process was just too cute to ignore and it was fun to be in her head

This was also almost near perfect. I had everything I look for in a YA contemporary romance novel: cute romance, hilarious narrative, relatable characters and a complex home life. However, not all is perfect but I will get to that part later.

Alice 

Our main character, Alice is black and identifies as bi romantic asexual. She had a relationship with a woman in the beginning of the novel and but develops a new one with a man. She comes a long line of lawyers and her family constantly puts a lot of pressure on her to continue that legacy. She works in a library and it’s also the place where she meets Takumi who immediately catches her eye.

I loved Alice. She’s flawed, has an attitude that almost reflects my own and also develops nicely throughout the story. She’s already come out as asexual to her best friends but struggles with her asexuality when it comes to relationships and her family. Her ex girlfriend dumped her because she thought Alice “hated” sex which is unfortunately a common misconception when it comes to asexuality.

I also liked our Alice being asexual wasn’t just a slapped on label. We get to learn more about Alice such as her love for online streaming and food (so me). We learn she has a cutie meter which is equally adorable and creative.

Asexual/Biromantic Rep

I won’t say if this was good representation (again refer to the own voices review) but I will say it’s nice to see “Asexual” and “Biromantic” ON PAGE. No, it’s not implied but Alice and several other characters actually uses the label. Greysexual is also mentioned on page! A Triple YES! The book also dives deep into the differences between arousal and attraction, which is also important when trying to explain asexuality. Misconceptions are also shot down and and stereotypes are never used.

Race

There wasn’t a lot of discussions about race in the book but there were subtle racist comments about Alice that many black people, especially black women, have to faced today. I don’t know why the phrase “you’re cute for a black girl” is still used as a pick up line! Alice doesn’t necessary call them out on it but she doesn’t blatantly ignore these comments either. The book also discusses how black folks have to work much harder in school and the work place in order to be taken seriously in which I can attest to. Although my GPA is good, I constantly feel I have to prove myself, especially when I’m trying to get the respect of my peers and classmates. I appreciate seeing this struggle in book form since I sometimes I feel alone ( *sigh* there’s little to no black people where I live).

The Relationship

The relationship between Alice and Takumi was honestly adorable. Both were intrigued by each other from the start but it was still slow burn. This book didn’t really have a plot and it was more of the development of their relationship but I did not care at all. I loved their dates, their dialogue, their facial expressions, just everything. However, at times, I felt they were a little too dependent on one another but it wasn’t too bad.

The Friendships

Okay, in MY OPINION, I didn’t like Feenie or Ryan. I thought they were too petty when Alice started hanging out with Takumi more than them even though they ditch Alice all the time. I get the message that when you get into a relationship, you should never ditch your friends or forget about them but their fight was still tiresome. I felt like I was supposed to care about this subplot but all I didn’t???? BUT, I did like how Feenie and Ryan weren’t judgy with Alice being asexual, even though they already knew since the beginning. I can tell there is a deep bond between the trio and maybe I wish there were more chapters that really explained their friendship so I can further understand their connection.

Therapy

A therapy positive book is my favorite book, especially one that doesn’t have a main character with a mental illness. Alice seeks therapy in order to talk through her struggles with being asexual and how to be more open in general. Therapy is NORMALIZED in the book. I also love how her therapist doesn’t just “solve” the problems. The therapist isn’t always right but Alice still considers his suggestions. Oh, the therapist is a man which is never seen in book form (or if he is, he is the “ineffective” therapist).

Final Thoughts

I heard the original draft was a mess when it came to the ace rep and the relationship between Alice and Takumi. I can say that original draft problems didn’t enter the final draft (again can’t speak about the ace rep)! Even if you’re not black or identify as ace, you can take something from this book. It’s a friendship heavy book and also chronicles the struggles of college students.

Also, even though the writing takes getting used to, I thought it was always engaging and the pace was nice. The reason why I give a lot of contemporaries 3 stars is because they’re times where the story just drags or I’m just flat out bored. With this one, I never felt such. I highly recommend but again, I would refer to the biroace rep review as they can offer more in detail about the representation.

Memorable Quote: ” I am very loving, I cry at the end of romcom. My favorite movie is Splash. I want someone to give me flowers and take me on dates. I want to fall in love and wear a giant princess dress at my wedding. I want to have a happy ending, too, and all that other magical stuff. I want what books and TV and the world has promised me. It’s not fair that I should have to want sex to have it.”

TWITTER|BLOG|GOODREADS

blog sig

Advertisements

LGBTIA+/Queer Book Resources! #1

Don’t get me wrong, I love Goodreads and their “listopia” feature. However, one problem is that those list are extremely flawed and often has books on that list that do not belong into that category. What’s also annoying is that it’s almost always the same books on these lists and I just want something new (whether it’s an unpopular backlisted book or new release).

Therefore, I decided to compile a list of bloggers, Youtubers and other resources that spread queer books/content. From book reviews, to recommendations, to important discussions, all these blogs, creators and advocates have done a lot for the queer book community so I want to further amplify their influences! These creators often praise the unpopular, underappreciated, underrated Queer books but also highlight the popular ones.  I’m only doing a few in each category but I might do more of these because there’s honestly so many! Maybe a weekly/biweekly/monthly post I do!?!

So, are you looking to find yourself represented in a book or just want to expand your reading? Check out these resources !

Blogs

theillustratedpage: This blog is for all the Fantasy and Science Fiction fans, especially if you’re looking for queer protagonists. I personally have found some awesome books. I often try to search for books with ACE main characters and this is my go to blog for that! There’s also a lot of resources about diversity (women, POC, etc) in these two genres as well. The creator of the blog, Sarah Waites, is also a very talented artist!!! Note: I just realized I was not following this blog, even though I have it bookmarked and check it regularly :0!

lgbtqreads: Just like it sounds, the blog is dedicated to queer books! They post queer author interviews, recs, book releases and more! There are also specific lists that includes  YA, Adult, New Adult, Middle Grade Graphic Novels, Genre and Representation . I often search for black bisexual (ya girl) on this blog and they always give me a lot of recs! Another amazing resource.

lesbrary: This blog focuses on F|F books. There’s a full team ofLesbrarians” who all have different identities who review popular books to independent books to people submitting their own work!  Girls who loves girls, I could die happily on this blog. Again, another great blog to follow.

YOUTUBE

Perpetualpages: Adriana is a fantastic queer Youtuber who actively reviews, recommends and discusses books, especially queer books (a lot of QPOC!) Here and here are my favorite videos of theirs! I love love LOVE their discussion videos and I wish I can eloquently speak my thoughts the way they do. Also, if you love manga, they frequently have manga content on their channel. I honestly binge watch their videos all the time!

ProblemsofaBookNerd: CeCe is such a delight! She actively spreads queer books and Harry Potter content on her channel! I’ve gotten a lot of my F|F recs from her and she uploads a lot of other pop culture videos. She’s actually one of the first Booktubers I discovered so she’ll always be my ultimate fave. The videos that I highly recommend from her are here and here.

TeaLeavesAndBookBindings: I love Ashley because she’s always excited about the books she reads and wants to read so her videos always brightens my day. Again, she uploads of videos about queer books and she recently did a really adorable video with her girlfriend here. I also love this and this video as well!!!

OTHER

100 must read bisexual books: I often refer to this list when I’m trying to find the next bi read! I’m constantly looking for books that would represent me and this list does the job (low key am trying to read this entire list in my lifetime). 

23 LGBTQ Books With A POC Protagonist, Because It’s Time To Diversify Your Reading List: A great list of books with Queer POC characters!

A Trans* and Gender Nonconforming Reading List for All Ages: A list of books that features Trans/gender-nonconforming characters/people. From middle grade to memoirs, your next great read will sure be right here!

I have so many more resources (Especially Booktubers and Bloggers!) that I hope to share in the future! Do you have any suggestions or any blog/Youtuber/website that I should check out and feature next? Let me know!

blog sig

 

 

 

 

{review}Keeping You a Secret by Julie Ann Peters|That’s it?!?!

272315Keeping You a Secret

With a steady boyfriend, the position of Student Council President, and a chance to go to an Ivy League college, high school life is just fine for Holland Jaeger. At least it seems to be. But when Cece Goddard comes to school, everything changes. Cece and Holland have undeniable feelings for each other, but how will others react to their developing relationship? This moving love story between two girls is a worthy successor to Nancy Garden’s classic young adult coming out novel, Annie on My Mind. With her characteristic humor and breezy style, Peters has captured the compelling emotions of My young love.

 

TW/CW HOMOPHOBIA, ACCEPTING PARENTS

Initial Thoughts

That’s it?!?!

 

Was the Plot Good?

This is your generic coming out story of a popular beloved high school girl with the equally popular boyfriend but then this new girl shows up and shakes the female protagonist world and discovers her true sexuality.  I understand this was published in 2005 but it just wasn’t engaging and I didn’t care what happens in the story because I already knew the ending. I was bored most of the time and I was close to DNFing the book.

Since this was published in 2005, it definitely seemed outdated such as the homophobia graffiti, lockers, slashing tires, the language in general. Although this stuff may still happened, it just seemed extreme. Though, this could be because I live in a bluer than the sky state and that shit would never been tolerated here.

 

Engaging characters?

Holland was very 2 dimensional and her thoughts were a tad bit questionable.

I felt Cece’s character was just centered around her sexuality and nothing else. Everytime she’s on page, she’s wearing a new gay pride shirt and we are told constantly about her sexuality. I don’t know if this is done to contrast her from the closeted Holland or what but it grew annoying as the reader. It strained the character development because we didn’t really get to know Cece apart from her sexuality (even at her performance because it was mostly Holland gawking at Cece).

I didn’t understand Holland’s mom because her logic never made sense to me. She kicked Holland out, then was like no baby come home but come back home straight please and when Holland refused she said leave but then she was like nevermind come back home. Also Holland’s mom went through a lot of BS in her life yet she’s still holds oppressive ideas????

All the other characters seemed forgettable, I forgot Holland’s sister’s name oops!

 

Relationship

I was disappointed with this relationship. I was expecting something adorable and enduring. However, the relationship seemed unnatural and a little unhealthy. I liked how it was one of those slow burn relationship since those bring light into my ever so cold world but once they proclaim their attraction towards one another, BOOM INSTA-LOVE. “I love you” was said after 5 minutes into the official relationship, alright okay.

This relationship also made me feel icky because Cece told Holland how she followed her to/in school. work, home, dates with Seth and Holland is like “OH SHE LIKES ME YAY” Like no, she’s stalking you. Cece in general was manipulated and I just couldn’t ship them at all. I didn’t really care if they were going to last till the end because they were just MEH and again it was a little bit toxic.

Messages/Themes

 Alright let’s get started

Bi rep: I’m bi myself so when I see the actual word “bisexual” on page, I get a little excited. However, I do wish this was delved into a bit more because Holland dismissed the idea so fast.

Coming out: Being a coming out story, this topic was apparent throughout the story.  There’s no right way to come out, even if someone says otherwise. Though, I could have not done the whole “someone else pushes me out of the closet” trope but you get what you get. Even though Holland’s was a little extreme, these stories are important. That being said, I still haven’t come out to my family (friends know though) so reading this and having basically having the same type of family members as Holland, this scared the shit out of me.

Cheating: Holland kissed Cece while still in a relationship with Seth. So yes, Holland cheated on Seth even though she was going to break up with him the next chapter. It’s pretty easy to break up with Seth BEFORE she kissed Cece but nope this happened because SUSPENSE.

Girl Hate: Holland hates all the girls in the story except Cece and maybe her irrelevant friend Leah. There was so much slut shaming and unnecessary hate. Holland literally imagined her killing on a character because she was talking to Cece. Holland just hated all girls (even her “friends”)

Homophobia: I don’t know what Peters was trying to accomplish when depicting homophobia. We have Kirsten, the typical homophobic of the story. When she said homophobic things, no one really called her out on it. Holland would just get mad and complain about it but like, I don’t know SAY SOMETHING?!?! Even at the end, Holland still never said anything. Kirsten probably thinks her homophobic beliefs are valid because no one told her why she’s wrong, like NO ONE. I understand that someone might be scared/anxious to go against someone like that but there was no redemption arc for Holland or Cece or Kirsten. Even with everything else when the guys try to “convert” Cece. Holland was like “go away” and that was it. Like okay?!?! Nothing was accomplished and that’s what annoyed me. HOWEVER, I will give props to the novel for giving resources on what a teenager should do if they have overly unaccepting parents (clinics, homes, etc).

 

Would I recommend?

Yes and no. Some people say that closeted people should read this but I’m going to say maybe no?!!?!? Or yes?!?! I don’t know. As one who is basically half in and half out of the closet, this book made me put one foot back in the closet.

Final Thoughts

So yeah, I just feel like this wasn’t for me. I couldn’t identify with any of the characters, the plot was meh, and I just had problems with it overall.

There are better f/f romance out there and I encourage you to read those and perhaps pass on this one. OR not, maybe someone might gain something from the book but I gained absolutely nothing.

 

blog sig

{review} The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka|A Compelling Mystery With an Even More Compelling Bisexual Protagonist

The Last Place You Look (Roxane Weary, #1)The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka [Goodreads]

Sarah Cook, a beautiful blonde teenager disappeared fifteen years ago, the same night her parents were brutally murdered in their suburban Ohio home. Her boyfriend Brad Stockton – black and from the wrong side of the tracks – was convicted of the murders and sits on death row, though he always maintained his innocence. With his execution only weeks away, his devoted sister, insisting she has spotted Sarah at a local gas station, hires PI Roxane Weary to look again at the case.
Reeling from the recent death of her cop father, Roxane finds herself drawn to the story of Sarah’s vanishing act, especially when she thinks she’s linked Sarah’s disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl. Despite her self-destructive tendencies, Roxane starts to hope that maybe she can save Brad’s life and her own.

TW: Murder, Rape/Sexual Assault, Alcohol/Substance Abuse

Initial Thoughts

I had no expectations when it came to The Last Place You Look. I never heard of the author, never seen a single review on Youtube or on WordPress, and honestly only found it because I looked up “LGBT mystery/Thrillers.” The Synopsis looked compelling enough and luckily, my library had it available.

After finishing this, it’s astonishing that no one ever talked about this series, like at all.

This was fast-paced, where we were immediately pulled into the plot. Brad Stockton is sitting on death row after being convicted for murdering his girlfriend’s (who is also missing and assumed dead) parents. Roxane gets hired by Brad’s sister after claiming that she saw Brad’s girlfriend at a gas station, hoping that Roxane can prevent her brother’s execution. When she looks at her father’s unsolved cases, she makes a connection with one of them, wondering if they can be related. From there on, the story goes full speed.

Although this short summary may seem like a simple case, Roxane discovers that it’s going to be a lot harder to find the answers she seeks. Every other 2 chapters there is a new discovery that throws Roxane and the reader completely off and the case becomes even more complicated. It’s a page turner and I was never bored.  

I also liked that Brad’s race wasn’t ignore and Roxane even admits that him being black may have a role in the entire case.

The Twist

In every mystery/thriller there’s going to be an unexpected twist, especially near the end. Of course that is what happened in this book. The ultimate twist at the end kind of shocked me but at the same time, I sort of saw it coming. The journey getting there was executed really well and everything made completely sense. 

Our Main Character

I’m a Gillian Flynn fan. She creates these anti-hero, aloof, morally gray characters and that’s what generally like in most of my mystery novels.

However, with our main character Roxane, she’s quite the complete opposite. Yes, she is on the brink of a serious alcohol problem, has the complicated relationships and her father’s death definitely put a huge toll on her, but overall, she’s an amiable go-getter private investigator. She’s very cooperative with the police but also doesn’t let them push her around. Her father’s death is always on her mind, especially since she believes that he wasn’t proud of who she became. She originally took the case because she needed the money and was tired of sulking but she didn’t half-assed her job, even if at times she wanted to. She finds things and she’s great at it. As I read, I want to both be and be with Roxane because she is such a kickass character. 

Roxane is also bisexual! I loved seeing representation in the novel since I never read a mystery book featuring a bi main character. What I liked about bisexuality in the book is that no one questions it. Maybe because Roxane isn’t a teenager but it’s awesome to see other characters understand rather them stereotyping Roxane. It’s prominent that Roxane is bisexual but it isn’t really part of the plot which is honestly really refreshing.

Tropes/Themes

This book does have one of my least favorite bi tropes: the girl/girl/guy love triangle.I will say that it isn’t that in your face where the main character contemplates who she really wants to be with in the end. This love triangle is  definitely not part of the major plot or even the major side plot. It’s a tiny part of the story but doesn’t deter the narrative or Roxane’s character which I can appreciate especially from a non-romance book.

Aloof PI/Detective Female Character: Another trope I’m glad this book did not fall victim of is the typical woman in a mystery/thriller novel. For some reason, a lot of thrillers have women seem to always be involved in casual sex, who are aloof and sarcastic I mean, hey, I love those characters but it’s nice to see some variety in characterizations and personalities, especially in adult thrillers. 

Race: Although this was not the vocal point of the story, it was not ignored. Brad is black and the author dives into the prejudices that people may have towards black men.  The conversations of dating outside ones race and attitudes of black men in jail was done well, even if it wasn’t a black #ownvoices book.

Negatives

There isn’t really a lot of weaknesses. The only minor flaw I found is that there are a couple of mental health/psychological terms used to describe someone who does not fall into that mental illness but is just used as an insult/adjective.I hate that a lot of crime thrillers have these terms so it’s one of my personal pet peeves. Other than that, this story was pretty solid.

Final Thoughts

This is one of the best mystery thrillers I’ve read in awhile. The characters are full of depth and the story is fleshed out without any plot holes. I’m glad to that there’s more books in this series and I can’t wait to read the rest! Highly recommend The Last Place You Look. 

blog sig

 

PRIDE MONTH|Blog Announcement and Reading Challenges

Happy first day of Pride Month!

In celebration, I decided that for the month of June, I will only post about LGBTQIA+ / gender related content. From book reviews, recommendations, discussions,  to personal anecdotes, I will be spreading the awareness of the month on my blog!

To start off, I would like to share some of the books that I’m leaning towards reading for the month. This is a strictly LGBTQIA+ reading month for me, and I try (am still trying) to find a diverse selection of books (not just identity but also in genre).

I decided to give myself a list of “Challenges” in order to challenge myself to read more widely. This is all personal but you guys can definitely join me! I am also participating in Cram-A-Thon but that will be a separate post on it’s own.

Challenges

  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 a LGBTQIA+ Black main character (with this category, I would like to read multiple)
  4. Read a middle grade featuring a LGBTQIA+ main character
  5. Read an OWN-VOICES LGBTQIA+ book (easy!)
  6. Read a book with a genderfluid/non binary main character
  7. Read a 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, Non-binary, etc)

My goal is to read one from every category. That’s 10 books which is super ambitious but I’m dedicated. I take public Transportation and I love audiobooks so let’s accomplish this!

Image result for bisexual flag gif

 

blog sig

 

5 Reasons Why I Love My Library

I absolutely love the library and I’m a huge advocate for keeping them in our society. When I was younger, I could never afford books so the library became like a second home to me. Because of this, I’m still using my library, a lot more than buying books. Here are all the reasons why I love my library and why you should too!

Reason 1: Get to read ALL the books!

Related image

That’s right, no money no problem. More popular releases are getting to libraries faster so I never have a problem with falling behind on my favorite books. The only problem is that you need to be fast enough to snag your copy quick!

 

 

Reason 2: Audiobooks!

Image result for listening to a book on tape gif

Again, this is FREE. Sites like audible are way to expensive for my taste so it’s nice when I get to listen to endless books without a price.

 

 

 

Reason 3: Library Ebook/Audiobook System

Image result for ereader gifDon’t like reading physical books? Don’t have enough room in your purse for your book? No worries, with your library’s FREE system, you can have your book on your cell phone/tablet/Ereader. This works for audiobooks as well! My library uses Overdrive/Libby but I’ve also heard of Hooplah! I highly recommend you check your library’s website or make a visit to see which one your library uses!

Reason 4: Cheap AF Booksales

Image result for bookstore gifDon’t get me wrong, I love used book stores. However, I’m not going to lie, they are sometimes way overpriced (especially my goodwill that sometimes sells hardcovers for 15 bucks). With libraries, it’s the complete opposite. My library has books for 25 CENTS, yes, I said CENTS!!! They also have other books for less than $4 which is still a sweet deal! And I know other libraries are the same as well (can’t say for all though). I also recommend you donate your books to the library to help support them because most of the money made on book donations go towards getting newer books and library events.

Reason 5: Library Events!

Related imageWhen I was in high school, I would go to the library to participate in the teen events they held. Sometimes, we do a really fun arts and craft, watch a movie, an author would visit, parties, etc. They would also do giveaways and have holiday events such as pumpkin carvings and Easter egg hunts. For adults, they would also have author signings, language classes, Driver’s Ed prep, chess tournaments and even more! They also had SAT/AP prep if you need it! Again, these are all FREE!

 

Do you like the library? What special events does your library host? Or are you like Leslie Knope?

Image result for leslie knope library gifImage result for library  gif

 

blog sig

FRIDAY READS|MAY 24 2018

Do people still do these?  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Anyways, I work this entire weekend but I still want to get some reading done. Here are the books that I plan on reading this week!

Also, I am preparing for June where my blog will solely focus on PRIDE related content so watch for that post in the future!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (On Page 250)

Gone Girl

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

Thoughts so far: Although this is taking me absolutely forever to finish this book, I’m still enjoying it so far! All I know is that both Nick and Amy are batshitwild. Can’t wait to see how it ends

Little & LionLittle and Lion by Brandy Colbert (Audiobook)

When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse.

Thoughts so far:  I literally only listen to 5 minutes so I don’t have any thoughts so far :/.

There are other books I’m looking at right now but these are the ones I’m for sure going to read this week. I really want to finish Gone Girl because it’s definitely been long overdo. Thank God for audiobooks since I have a pretty busy week!

What are you reading this week?

blog sig