Monday, July 24, 2017

My LGBTQ+ Themed TBR for BookTubeAThon 2017

*writes TBR at midnight when the BookTubeAThon has literally already started for me*
*pretends to live in Illinois (at least I can fake another Midwestern accent better than some other stuff)*

Hello! It's almost that time of the year again (the week of BookTubeAThon), so that means it's time for my TBR post! This is my third year participating in the BookTubeAThon, and I'm so excited to possibly be on schedule for my Goodreads challenge, and to finally get to some of the LGBTQ+ books I've had on my TBR pile for awhile!

And that brings me to my next point: this year, my BookTubeAThon TBR is completely LGBTQ+ books. I still have seven books and they all fit into the official challenges, but I'm also giving myself the extra challenge of reading all LGBTQ+ books. I don't know if anybody else has done this or something similar in the past, but if you know of anyone, please tell me! I'd love to see their TBR.

Anyway, I'll stop rambling now.

1. Read a book with a person on the cover.

For the first challenge, I'll be reading Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (gay MC), which, as you can see, has, well, most of a person on the cover? But that counts! I've been meaning to read one of Becky Albertalli's books for forever, and I think this is a good time! I know so many people that go on and on about this book, so I'm pretty sure I'll like it.

2. Read a hyped book.

My book for this one is More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (gay MC). Everyone I know that has read this book raves about it, and it's definitely my kind of book. I've also been really meaning to read an Adam Silvera book since I actually really like him as a person and read a lot of his interviews, but I've never managed to read one of his books! So I guess I've decided that his debut is the way to start?

3. Finish a book in one day.

This is kind of a difficult one to plan out, but I think I'm going to try to go with Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills (trans guy MC). Part of me wants to say, "Finally! A book about a trans guy!" and the other part is whining, "...but it's written by a cis woman..." The reason I'm picking this one is because it's pretty short, also I mayyyyy have snuck in about 45 pages worth of reading last week because I couldn't wait to read it. So far I only have a couple major issues (which I'll address in a review when I finish it because for all I know it could be discussed later), but it's honestly not as bad as I was expecting soooo.. that's a compliment I think.

4. Read a book about a character that is very different from you.

This was honestly a difficult one for me considering my theme and the fact that I've identified as pretty much every letter that's ever been part of the acronym at some point in my life, so I basically had to find the one letter I haven't been. The book I chose for this challenge is None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio, which features an intersex main character. I know that some people don't consider intersex strictly part of the LGBTQ+ community, but my choices were extremely limited here! This book does still deal with a lot of identity and body issues though, and I'm definitely not a straight girl, so this was a decent fit for this challenge!

5. Finish a book completely outdoors.

This... This is the cruelest challenge Ariel has ever given me. OUTSIDE? READING? READING OUTSIDE!?!?!?!? I'm not looking forward to this challenge, but I'm pretty determined to "win" BookTubeAThon this year, so I guess I gotta do what I gotta do. *shivers* Anyway, my fifth book is Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis (lesbian MCs). It's also my shortest book at 214 pages, and for good reason! I'm going to attempt to get as few mosquito bites as possible while completing this challenge. Wish me luck, guys.

6. Read a book you bought because of the cover.

As many of you know, I tend to specifically seek out books purely because they have LGBTQ+ characters, so this challenge was also a hard one for me, but I'm going with If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (trans girl MC), which I've been meaning to read for way to long. While I didn't buy this book specifically because of the cover, it was the cover that first introduced me to the book! I had a few friends that were really excited about this book about a trans girl written by a trans woman with a trans woman on the cover, and I was sold instantly. A trans woman on the cover?? Oh my god??? So I basically went out and bought this book right when it came out mostly because of the cover...

7. Read seven books.

While this one may change depending on how much time I have left at the end of the week, my plan is to read my ARC of Mask of Shadows by Lindsey Miller, which follows a genderfluid character through a fantasy setting. And I don't know if you guys know, but LGBTQ+ fantasy is pretty much my favorite thing in the whole world, and I was absolutely thrilled when I got approve for an advanced copy. At the same time, this is the longest book on this list at about 384 pages, so I might end up not having enough time, but I thought I'd put it on anyway!

And that's my TBR! Now I guess it's time for me to read? Yay! I may end up swapping a book or two out of these in favor of a shorter book, most notably The Marvels by Brian Selznick (which actually has a gay character, impressive for a middle grade book) and The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, and The Red Pyramid graphic novels by Rick Riordan, made into graphic novels by...some other people (you're welcome). But yeah, if I run out of time, that's what I'm going for.

Thanks for reading!

PS: Sorry, I didn't have the energy to add in pictures. It's 12:45 AM. I swear, I usually do better. (read: "Please follow me I'm desperate")

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Books I Read for Pride Month

Hello! Pride Month just ended, and I thought I'd share with you the books I read in honor of Pride!

Image result for being jazz my life as a transgender1. Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings

My Rating: 4 stars
Representation: trans girl, other queer people mentioned (#ownvoices)
Quick Review: This memoir by teenage trans activist Jazz Jennings gives a full-life view into the experiences of (one) transgender teen. I found reading about another teen trans activist very interesting, especially since Jazz came out and transitioned so much younger than most of us. Her writing was relatively simplistic, but what can you expect from a teenager that's not exactly a professional writer? That being said, Jazz's writing was much better and easier to read than other teen writers I've read, so props to her. I would recommended this book to both cis (non-trans) and trans people of pretty much any age, teen and up, that wants to get an idea of what it's like to be transgender, though I would keep in mind that this is a very privileged experience! (Just saying.)

The Traitor's Tunnel (A Trident Chronicles Novella)2. The Traitor's Tunnel (A Trident Chronicles Novella) by C.M. Spivey

My Rating: 5 stars
Representation: pansexuality, ace-spectrum, several queer characters (#ownvoices)
Quick Review: This novella is a prequel to Spivey's Trident Chronicles, though it is not necessary to read that book before reading this one. (I didn't, and it mostly made sense, though I will be reading this series after reading this novella!) I'm glad I've been finding so many LGBTQ+ fantasies lately, as I almost always love them. This story has a variety of queer characters, including the two main characters, their love interests, and other side characters. I love how this story normalizes asking someone's pronouns, getting consent from partners, and calling people by gender neutral pronouns ("ze" is used here) before you know their gender, which is something that is pretty much never seen anywhere, and I would love to see more of it, especially in YA. This novella also has a simple yet enjoyable plot, as well as lovable (and shipable) characters. And it definitely leaves me wanting more of this world!

Image result for half truths and half lies sally green3. Half Lies and Half Truths (The Half Bad Trilogy #0.5 and #0.6) by Sally Green

My Rating: 3 stars (for both)
Representation: gay male character (not #ownvoices)
Image result for half truths and half lies sally greenQuick Review: Half Lies follows the sister of a character named Gabriel (one of the main characters from the trilogy), but Gabriel also plays a major role, and his gayness is treated very well and casually, though it is not the focus of the story. Half Truths is told from three points of view, but it is focused on Gabriel right after the events in Half Lies, as well as his love interest (in this novella), Jon. Both stories were pretty enjoyable, though it's kind of hard to really love a novella. It kind of hurt to read after already finishing the Half Bad Trilogy (trying not to spoil things), but considering that each of these stories are only $0.99 on Amazon, they were definitely worth purchasing. It was also pretty entertaining to read about Europeans in America and then in Switzerland while being an American in Switzerland...

Image result for boy meets boy4. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

My Rating: 4 stars
Representation: several gay characters, bisexual character, ...drag queen/trans girl? (she's referred to as a drag queen but goes by female pronouns all the time so idk this was 2003) (#ownvoices for the gay characters)
Quick Review: For a queer book written in 2003, this book surprised me. Boy Meets Boy takes place in a strange town where homophobia is rare and gay-straight alliances exist in 2003 (12 years before my own). It's nearly a gay utopia, which is probably what queer kids needed in 2003 to be honest. This is definitely the kind of book I would give to young gay kids. Like, someone please give this to eleven-year-old me. All eleven-year-old me needed was cute gays being themselves, and that's exactly what this book is. Obviously, this isn't the kind of thing every queer kid needs (it might disappoint them when they realize that reality isn't like this), but it was a nice escape from the slurs I get called daily, and my school is considered pretty accepting! But still, that kind of thing isn't for everyone.

Did you read any LGBTQ+ books for pride? Tell me in the comments! And if you have any queer book recommendations (bonus points if you can come up with one I haven't heard of!), you can tell me there as well.

Happy July! Aka LGBTQ+ Wrath Month.