Small Town Pride by Phil Stamper Book Review

Book Description

Jake is just starting to enjoy life as his school’s first openly gay kid. While his family and friends are accepting and supportive, the same can’t be said about everyone in their small town of Barton Springs, Ohio.

When Jake’s dad hangs a comically large pride flag in their front yard in an overblown show of love, the mayor begins to receive complaints. A few people are even concerned the flag will lead to something truly outlandish: a pride parade.

Except Jake doesn’t think that’s a ridiculous idea. Why can’t they hold a pride festival in Barton Springs? The problem is, Jake knows he’ll have to get approval from the town council, and the mayor won’t be on his side. And as Jake and his friends try to find a way to bring Pride to Barton Springs, it seems suspicious that the mayor’s son, Brett, suddenly wants to spend time with Jake.

But someone that cute couldn’t possibly be in league with his mayoral mother, could he?

Review

Thoughts and Themes: After having enjoyed two of Phil Stamper’s books when I saw this middle-grade book of his on Netgalley I knew I had to read it. I love that there are options for LGBTQ+ youth now because when I was in middle school I remember there were 3 books I read on repeat. I remember being in middle school and knowing something was different about me but not having the terminology or knowing girls could be queer, and books only had gay males in them.

I like that this book isn’t all happy for our main character regardless of the support that he does have from family and friends. I like that we see the reality of what it can be for someone to be queer in a small town. I also really like that we get a glimpse of how Jake’s online world is 100% accepting in the way he had hoped it would be. I think it was great to see that nowhere is 100% safe for LGBTQ+ people and how we navigate spaces that we might not be safe in.

Something else that I really enjoyed about this book was the talk that Brett has with Jake about anxiety. I love how he brings up reading books to figure out his sexuality and how much that helped him. I really liked how they talk about Brett going to therapy to help with his anxiety and how it just is a regular conversation between two friends.

Characters: In this book, you meet several characters through their interactions with our main character, Jake. You get to meet his parents, his best friend, and the guy he is crushing on, Brett. I really enjoyed all of the characters you get to meet throughout this book and Jake’s relationships with everyone.

I loved the relationship between Brett and Jake and how innocent their relationship is. I also really enjoyed how Jake just accepts that Brett isn’t out and understands what being out could mean for him. I like that he just takes Brett’s lead and while it does confuse him at times he does listen to others.

I also liked how Jake has many supportive people in his life, like his best friend and his parents. I loved seeing how supportive Jake’s parents are and I liked that Jake felt comfortable enough to tell his dad that he outed him before he was ready.

Writing Style: This book is told in the first person through the perspective of our main character, Jake. I really enjoyed getting the chance to read this story from his perspective because the main character read his age. I liked getting to be in Jake’s head and see how he feels about everything. I also thought it was great to see how the reaction to having a crush and what it is like to be his age and be out.

Author Description

Phil Stamper grew up in a rural village near Dayton, Ohio. While it could be seen as a boring lifestyle to some, he kept himself entertained by playing the piano and writing stories that stretched his imagination. He has a B.A. in Music from the University of Dayton and an M.A. in Publishing with Creative Writing from Kingston University.

When he first left his home state, he landed in Washington, DC with no job prospects, $800 in graduation money, and the promise of a walk-in closet to live in. Not long after—and he’s not totally sure how—he was jumping headfirst into a career in non-profit PR and sleeping in a real bed. He loved writing for a living, even if he was writing press releases and news stories… and hundreds of emails to annoyed journalists. But after a while, the dry writing started to get to him, so he thought he’d finally work on that book he always wanted to write.

Years later, Phil is now the bestselling author of The Gravity of Us, As Far As You’ll Take Me, and other queer books for kids and teens. He works in author development for a major book publisher in New York City, where he lives with his husband and their dog. Golden Boys, the first book in his upcoming young adult rom-com duology, comes out in February 2022. Small Town Pride, his debut middle grade novel, publishes in Summer 2022.

Felix Ever After By Kacen Callender Book Review

Book Description

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I am so glad that this was the book I chose for stealing a book from someone’s TBR on the Read Your Own Adventure Challenge. I’ve had this book on my shelf for a while but have barely got to it and decided to listen to it on audio. I wish I would have read this book sooner because of how much I loved it. This is one of those books that I wound up tabbing a bunch because so much of it spoke to me.

There is so much that is included in this book that I really enjoyed. I love how throughout this book Felix is questioning their gender and we get to see how that affects him and the feelings that he has regarding love. I also really like how we get to see how Felix feels about relationships and being in love, and how much he wishes that he could have this experience.

Characters: In this book you meet several characters through their interactions with our main character, Felix. You get to meet Felix’s best friend, Ezra, his nemesis/person he is catfishing, Declan, some classmates, and his dad. Each of the characters that are included in this story are lovable and you can’t help but want to know more about them.

I really enjoyed the relationships that Felix has with each of the people that are included in this story. I really liked the relationship that Lucky and Declan have because they get to learn about each other when Declan doesn’t know that Lucky is Felix. I like how this is the way that we get to learn more about Declan.

I really like the friendship between Ezra and Felix and how oblivious Felix is to Ezra’s feelings which everyone else can see. I liked watching their relationship develops throughout the course of the book and how they eventually reveal their feelings for each other. I also liked how someone had to bring up the possibility to Felix before he even considers Ezra in that manner.

Writing Style: This story is told in the first person from Felix’s perspective. I like that we get to see the unsent emails that Felix is writing to his mom in hopes of having a relationship with her. I like that we also get to see Declan’s feelings regarding his father kicking him out of the house for being gay. I love that we get to see this idea of found family and chosen family through both of these characters and we also get a glimpse of this with Ezra as well.

Author Information

Kacen Callender is a Saint Thomian author of children’s fiction and fantasy, best known for their Stonewall Book Award and Lambda Literary Award-winning middle grade debut Hurricane Child. Their fantasy novel, Queen of the Conquered, is the 2020 winner of the World Fantasy Award and King and the Dragonflies won the 2020 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

Callender is Black, queer, trans, and uses they/them and he/him pronouns. Callender debuted their new name when announcing their next young adult novel Felix Ever After in May 2019. 

The Language of Seabirds by Will Taylor Book Review

Book Description

A sweet, tender middle-grade story of two boys finding first love with each other over a seaside summer.

Jeremy is not excited about the prospect of spending the summer with his dad and his uncle in a seaside cabin in Oregon. It’s the first summer after his parents’ divorce, and he hasn’t exactly been seeking alone time with his dad. He doesn’t have a choice, though, so he goes… and on his first day takes a walk on the beach and finds himself intrigued by a boy his age running by. Eventually, he and Runner Boy (Evan) meet — and what starts out as friendship blooms into something neither boy is expecting… and also something both boys have been secretly hoping for.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: This was a book that I was drawn to because of the beautiful cover and was very happy to get an advanced reading copy on Edelweiss and in the mail. I am very glad that I read this one because there was so much to love and I think middle grade readers would really enjoy this book.

I really enjoy how flustered Jeremy is about his crush and how it reminds me of just being that age when everything is confusing, scary, and overwhelming. I loved getting to read his reactions to things and him struggling just to send a message to Evan.

I loved the setting of this book because of how carefree it made everything seem. It was nice to see both of the boys just kind of enjoy their time together even if they are aware that this time isn’t forever. I liked how they just got time to be kids especially away from their parental figures. I really enjoyed the scenes in which you remember that they are in between being children and being teenagers, and what that must be like.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to a few characters through their interactions with our main character, Jeremy. You get to meet his crush, Evan, his dad, mom, Evan’s grandmother and a few other people on the beach.

I really enjoyed the relationship between Jeremy and Evan and how that develops through the course of this book. It just took me back to my first relationship and how carefree it was and how different dating as a teen was compared to now. I loved how they had their own language to communicate with each other regarding birds. I loved how they had this little world that was their own and it was like nothing could go wrong in that space.

I also liked getting to read about Jeremy’s relationship with his mom, dad, and uncle. I liked seeing how each of those relationships were different from one another. I liked to see why they responded in certain ways and I really liked to see how Jeremy’s relationship with his parents shifted how he responded to certain things.

Writing Style: This story is told in third person through the perspective of Jeremy which is something that I really enjoyed. As the story is told through Jeremy’s perspective it is clear that you are reading a story about a young teenager.

Author Information

Will Taylor (he/they) is a reader, writer, and honeybee fan. He lives in the heart of downtown Seattle surrounded by all the seagulls and not quite too many teacups. When not writing he can be found searching for the perfect bakery, talking to trees in parks, and completely losing his cool when he meets longhaired dachshunds. His books include Maggie & Abby’s Neverending Pillow Fort; Maggie & Abby and the Shipwreck Treehouse; Slimed; Catch That Dog!; and The Language of Seabirds.

Hell Followed with Us by Andrew Joseph White Book Tour Post

Book Description

Hell Followed Us by Andrew Joseph White

Genre: Young Adult Horror

Publishing Date: June 7, 2022

Synopsis:

Prepare to die. His kingdom is near.

Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him—the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.

But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.

Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms…until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.

A furious, queer debut novel about embracing the monster within and unleashing its power against your oppressors. Perfect for fans of Gideon the Ninth and Annihilation.

Content Warning: parental death, graphic death, body horror, violence, religious abuse, discussions of genocide; instances of homophobia, transphobia, misgendering, and deadnaming

Book Links

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Indigo ~ IndieBound

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was a bit skeptical of reading this one because of the trigger warnings that are included at the start of the book. I figured though since I was in a good place I could read it and I am glad that I did because I really enjoyed this one.

I love dystopian books especially ones that are focused on pandemic, viruses, etc. that are no where near anything that this world has experienced. I find that this focus allows me to escape into another world while reading even if that world is also not ideal.

I really enjoyed how religion was tied into this story and the pieces of the bible that are included. Some of those pieces hit harder than others even if I knew they were in the bible. I really liked seeing how this book interpreted some of those pieces. For me, I’ve been reading a lot of books that include Catholicism and its been interesting to see how each book uses the bible verses to make their point.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Benjamin/Benji. You get to meet his ex-fiance, his mom, other people at the Acheson LGBTQ+ Center (ALC), and more. I really loved each of the characters that you get to meet throughout this story and even found the bad guys to be intriguing.

I really enjoyed the descriptions of each of the creatures that are introduced throughout this story and loved trying to picture what they looked like. I wish this was turned into a movie so that I could see these words come to life and see what Seraph looks like, what the Graces look like, and what the Angels look like. I loved learning about each of them and what they stood for and why they existed.

I loved the relationships that Benji had with each of the people involved in this story. I liked getting to see his relationship with his dad from his perspective and how that differed from his mom. I also really enjoyed getting to see his feelings for his fiancee, Theo, and how those feelings change throughout the course of this book.

I really enjoyed that this book included an Autistic character as the love interest and how we get to see some of those traits throughout the book. I like how Nick tries so hard to not show that he is Autistic to the rest of the group even if they are aware. I like how we get to see him stimming and also moments in which he is overwhelmed. I loved the relationship that develops between Nick and Benji and how complicated their feelings are for each other.

Writing Style: This story is written in first person through the perspective of Benjamin/Benji. There are bits and pieces that are told in the third person to give the perspective of Theo and Nick. I really liked getting a chance to see the story unfold through Benji’s perspective and only getting snippets of the others. I think that us being in their head allows us to see what he is thinking and how scared he is of some of the things that are happening to him and around him.

Author Information

Andrew Joseph White is a queer, trans author from Virginia, where he grew up falling in love with monsters and wishing he could be one too. He is a graduate student in George Mason University’s Creative Writing program and has a habit of cuddling random street cats. Andrew writes about trans kids with claws and fangs, and what happens when they bite back.  

He is represented by Zabé Ellor of the Jennifer de Chiara Literary Agency. Author photo by Alice Scott.

Author Links:

Website: https://andrewjosephwhite.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ajwhiteauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ajwhiteauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19719767.Andrew_Joseph_White

Tour Schedule

https://tbrandbeyondtours.com/2022/04/26/tour-schedule-hell-followed-with-us-by-andrew-joseph-white/

Out of the Blue by Jason June Book Tour Post

Book Description

Out of the Blue by Jason June

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Publishing Date: May 31, 2022

Synopsis:

Crest is not excited to be on their Journey: the monthlong sojourn on land all teen merfolk must undergo. The rules are simple: Help a human within one moon cycle and return to Pacifica to become an Elder–or fail and remain stuck on land forever. Crest is eager to get their Journey over and done with: after all, humans are disgusting. They’ve pollluted the planet so much that there’s a floating island of trash that’s literally the size of a country.

In Los Angeles with a human body and a new name, Crest meets Sean, a human lifeguard whose boyfriend has recently dumped him. Crest agrees to help Sean make his ex jealous and win him back. But as the two spend more time together and Crest’s pespective on humans begins to change, they’ll soon be torn between two worlds. And fake dating just might lead to real feelings…

This sophomore novel from Jason June dives into the many definitions of the world home and shows how love can help us find the truest versions of ourselves. 

Book Links

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Indigo ~ Indiebound

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I really wanted to read this book because the cover looks so cute and the description made it sound appealing. I was so happy to get a chance to be on this book tour so I could read the book in advance but I decided to listen to it on audio.

When I first started listening to this one it reminded me instantly of the Disney movie, Luca just this one is obviously Gay. If you liked that movie then you will certainly enjoy reading this book because Ross’s first moments on land are so similar to Luca’s first moments on land. I love how confused Ross is about so many human things and how we get to see what they think about those things and how they try to make sense of everything.

There are so many moments in this book that I am laughing out loud just like Sean is laughing at Ross. I love how clueless they are but also love how innocent everything is because they don’t know about our world. I like how we get to see everything that we take for granted or things we are so familiar with in a different way because of the way Ross is experiencing our world.

I loved getting a chance to hear Ross and Sean both exploring the city of LA. I felt like they were just in my backyard and they made the city sound so beautiful when its my every day. And then this book sold me with the Grey’s Anatomy quote so you all have to read it to see what I mean.

Characters: In this book, you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with Ross and Sean. You get to meet Sean’s ex-boyfriend, Dominic, some of the people back at Ross’s home, and Sean’s best friend, Kavya.

I really loved learning about Ross and their world. I also loved that Ross is non-binary in the human world and love how we get to see them navigate this when introducing themself to others.

I kept being frustrated with Sean’s obsession with Dominic but I keep remembering that this whole thing is only happening because Ross wants to help him get his ex back. I love the way that Ross makes Sean see things so differently because they are experiencing so much for the first time. I loved the way that their relationship develops throughout the course of the book and how they were instantly friends.

I just really enjoyed how the relationship between Ross and Sean develops. I liked the way this all started and then what it becomes instead for both of them. I just love hearing their feelings for each other when they are in their heads especially since they don’t share their feelings out loud.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person dual point of view going back and forth between Ross and Sean’s perspectives. I liked that this book goes back and forth between both of the boys so that you can see how each of them navigates things. I also like how this back and forth allows you to get to know more about Ross and their world in the chapters told from their perspective.

I liked getting to hear both of their perspectives because it allows us to see how each of them feels about this whole scheme to get Dominic back. I also liked seeing both of their perspectives because it allows us to learn more about Ross’s world in the ocean during his section.

Author Information

You’ve come here wondering, “What is the meaning of life?” Er, I mean, Jason June’s life. Jason June (it’s a two-name first name, like Mary-Kate without the hyphen or the Olsen twin) is a genderqueer writer mermaid who loves to create picture books that mix the flamboyantly whacky with the slightly dark, and young adult contemporary rom-coms full of love and lust and hijinks.

When not writing, JJ zips about Austin, Texas. He loves dinosaurs, unicorns, Pomeranians, and anything magical that takes you to a different world or time. JJ is a tried and true Laura Dern stan, and he is actively looking for an Andalite friend.

​His picture books include WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE, illustrated by Jess Pauwels, and PORCUPINE CUPID, a queer-inclusive Valentine’s Day story, illustrated by Lori Richmond, both from Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster. For under-the-sea whimsical adventures, check out the MERMICORN ISLAND chapter book series from Scholastic! And get ready for JAY’S GAY AGENDA, Jason June’s debut YA, queer rom-com, coming June 1, 2021 from HarperTeen!

Author Links

Website: https://www.heyjasonjune.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/heyjasonjune

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heyjasonjune/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15906433.Jason_June

Tour Schedule

https://tbrandbeyondtours.com/2022/04/23/tour-schedule-out-of-the-blue-by-jason-june/

A Little Bit Country by Brian D. Kennedy Book Tour Post

Book Description

A Little Bit Country Brian D. Kennedy

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance

Publishing Date: June 7, 2022

Synopsis:

Emmett Maguire wants to be country music’s biggest gay superstar – a far reach when you’re seventeen and living in Illinois. But for now, he’s happy to do the next best thing: Stay with his aunt in Jackson Hollow, Tennessee, for the summer and perform at the amusement park owned by his idol, country legend Wanda Jean Stubbs.

Luke Barnes hates country music. As the grandson of Verna Rose, the disgraced singer who had a famous falling out with Wanda Jean, Luke knows how much pain country music has brought his family. But when his mom’s medical bills start piling up, he takes a job at the last place he wants: a restaurant at Wanda World.

Neither boy is looking for romance, but sparks fly when they meet – and soon they’re inseparable. Until a long-lost secret about Verna and Wanda comes to light, threatening to unravel everything.

Will Emmett and Luke be able to get past the truths they discover…or will their relationship go down in history as just another Sad Country Love Song?

Book Links

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Indigo~ IndieBound

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I wanted to read this one because I love country music and theme parks, so this seemed perfect. I am so glad this was the first book that I read for pride month because it killed me with cuteness. I was trying so hard not to squeal from the cuteness while reading this at work.

There was just so much that I loved about this book even the parts that I kind of saw coming. All I wanted for both of these boys throughout the whole book was happy because they both deserved it. There are parts of this book that break your heart for all of the characters but then this author knows how to take those pieces they just broke and make your heart whole again.

Characters: In this book, you are introduced to a few characters through their interactions with Luke and Emmett. You get to meet Luke’s ex-girlfriend, Luke’s family, some of the people in the Jamboree, and Emmett’s aunt.

I really liked getting a glimpse into Luke’s home life and how that dictated his every move. I liked that we got to see what it was like for him to be poor and feel responsible for taking care of his family, and what that all meant for his dreams of being a chef and coming out. I also liked how seeing a glimpse of his home we got to see his mom who has a chronic illness and how that impacts her life as well as Luke’s life.

I liked getting to see how they each viewed their relationship with each other and the fears that they both had about that relationship. The relationship between Luke and Emmett was my favorite part of this book. I liked how Luke calls Emmett out about what it would mean if he was out and how it isn’t always easy for everyone to be out. I also like how they both get in their heads about things and how if they would just communicate things would be so much easier for both of them.

Writing Style: This book is told from a dual perspective going back and forth between Emmett and Luke. I thought this was a great choice for this book because you needed to know what was going on in both of these boy’s heads. I think hearing things from both sides and getting to know them as individuals made their love story so much more precious.

Author Description

Brian D. Kennedy writes books for young adults. Born and raised in Minnesota, he occasionally elongates his vowels still. He now lives in New York City with his husband and their very photogenic dog. When he’s not writing, Brian can be found working at the LGBTQ Center, sitting in the audience at a Broadway show, or out buying more books—despite the stack of unread ones he has at home.  

Author Links

Website: https://www.briandkennedybooks.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bdkennedybooks

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bdkennedybooks/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20814893.Brian_D_Kennedy

Tour Schedule

https://tbrandbeyondtours.com/2022/03/25/tour-schedule-a-little-bit-country-by-brian-d-kennedy/

Kings of B’More by R. Eric Thomas Book Review

Book Description

Two Black, queer best friends face their last day together with an epic journey through Baltimore in this magnetic YA debut by celebrated cultural critic and bestselling Here For It author R. Eric Thomas.

With junior year starting in the fall, Harrison feels like he’s on the precipice of, well, everything. Standardized testing, college, and the terrifying unknowns and looming pressures of adulthood after that–it’s like the future wants to eat him alive. Which is why Harrison is grateful that he and his best friend Linus will face these things together. But at the end of a shift at their summer job, Linus invites Harrison to their special spot overlooking the city to deliver devastating news: he’s moving out of state at the end of the week.

To keep from completely losing it–and partially inspired by a cheesy movie-night pick by his Dad–Harrison plans a send-off � la Ferris Bueller’s Day Off that’s worthy of his favorite person. If they won’t be having all the life-expanding experiences they thought they would, Harrison will squeeze them all into their last day. They end up on a mini road trip, their first Pride, and a rooftop dance party, all while keeping their respective parents, who track them on a family location app, off their trail. Harrison and Linus make a pact to do all the things–big and small–they’ve been too scared to do. But nothing feels scarier than saying goodbye to someone you love.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was quite pleased when Penguin teen provided me with a copy of this book so that I could provide a review. While I haven’t seen the movie Ferris Bueller, I was intrigued because this book centered around two Queer, Black males, and their friendship which is something that I rarely see in books.

I tend to find Queer books focus so much on the romance that they leave the friendship piece out, or that if there’s another Queer person in the book it’s an automatic relationship so I loved that this book didn’t go that route. Throughout the whole time of reading this book, I was waiting for there to be some romantic gesture made and I just didn’t feel that spark between the two guys so I was happy that they didn’t have any romantic feelings toward each other. I do really love that this book talks about how this is different from a typical friendship and the love that they have for each other that is platonic but still so important and valid.

I love how this book was a take on Ferris Bueller and how the characters point out how different it is because they aren’t white, straight guys. I thought it was important that this was pointed out because some of the events that take place throughout this story are because they are Black, Gay guys.

Characters: In this book, you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Harrison. You get to meet his best friend, Linus, his sister Corrine, his parents, and Linus’s dad, as well as some of their friends, Aparna.

I really loved the friendship between Harrison and Linus and how we see it develop throughout this book. I love that we get a chance to see how this friendship started and how they both feel about their friendship. I really enjoyed how they both didn’t have to say anything to just understand each other. This whole friendship reminded me of me and my best friend and how space and time don’t change things for us, it’s more than words can describe but this book put that friendship into words.

I also really enjoyed the relationship that Harrison has with each of his family members and how we see this throughout the book. I like how his parents explain why they are so protective of him and I like how close his sister is with him. I like that we also get to see her being protective of him throughout the book and how she also understands him.

Writing Style: This story is told in the third person through an outside narrator, and you also get some show notes from Aparna that are written in the first person. I really liked getting the chance to see both what Harrison and Linus were up to and what Aparna was getting into to keep their travels a secret.

I loved the pieces that were written by Aparna as I felt like she was the actual narrator for this whole story and she was retelling that day. I know that this isn’t the case but it’s nice to think that she just knows all because it fits her character.

I also really liked that this was told in the third person because we got to see what each person was thinking or what each of them was doing at different moments in time. While the majority of the book was focused on Harrison, you did get glimpses of Linus and his thoughts.

Author Information

R. Eric Thomas is a national bestselling author, playwright, and screenwriter. His books include, Here for It, or How to Save Your Soul in America, which was featured as a Read with Jenna pick on NBC’s Today, Reclaiming Her Time: The Power of Maxine Waters, co-authored with Helena Andrews-Dyer, and the YA novel Kings of B’more. For four years, he wrote “Eric Reads the News” a wildly popular daily humor column covering pop culture and politics on ELLE.com.

He has written on the Peabody Award-winning series Dickinson on AppleTV+ and Better Things on FX. Off the page, Eric is also the long-running host of The Moth StorySlams in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and has been heard multiple times on The Moth Radio Hour, NPR’s All Things Considered and It’s Been A Minute with Sam Sanders. Website: rericthomas.com

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir Book Review

Book Description

Lahore, Pakistan. Then.
Misbah is a dreamer and storyteller, newly married to Toufiq in an arranged match. After their young life is shaken by tragedy, they come to the United States and open the Cloud’s Rest Inn Motel, hoping for a new start.

Juniper, California. Now.
Salahudin and Noor are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as outcasts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until The Fight, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding.

Now, Sal scrambles to run the family motel as his mother Misbah’s health fails and his grieving father loses himself to alcoholism. Noor, meanwhile, walks a harrowing tightrope: working at her wrathful uncle’s liquor store while hiding the fact that she’s applying to college so she can escape him—and Juniper—forever.

When Sal’s attempts to save the motel spiral out of control, he and Noor must ask themselves what friendship is worth—and what it takes to defeat the monsters in their pasts and the ones in their midst.

From one of today’s most cherished and bestselling young adult authors comes a breathtaking novel of young love, old regrets, and forgiveness—one that’s both tragic and poignant in its tender ferocity.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I had heard about this book all over bookstagram and booktok so when I got an advanced listening copy from libro.fm I was so happy to get a change to listen to it. I really enjoyed so much about this book regardless of the emotional roller coaster that it put me on. This book goes through grief, loss, betrayal, forgiveness, rage, and more.

Right from the start of this book, my heart was broken for Salahudin and Noor. This book makes you fall in love with a character to only take her away way too soon. This has to happen though in order for the rest of the events in this book to take place and go the way that they did.

Characters: There are quite a few characters that you get to meet throughout this book through the different interactions that they have with the main characters, Misbah, Salahudin and Noor.

I really enjoy the relationship between Nor and Sal and how that changes from the start of the book to the end. I love how these two trust each other over anyone else, and how that trust developed through their childhood and experiences that they share.

I like the relationship that you get to see between Misbah, her son, Salahudin, and Noor. I like how Misbah was like a mother figure to Noor, and what that meant for both of them. I really liked how Misbah allowed Noor to be herself and taught her about religion even if Noor’s uncle didn’t want that.

Writing Style: This book is told in the first person through the perspectives of Misbah, Salahudin, and Noor. The story goes back and forth from the past to the present. When you are hearing from Misbah, you are taken to the past and are in Pakistan, and when you are hearing from Sal and Noor, you are in the present in California.

I love how you learn more about each of the characters as you listen to the chapters that are written through each of their perspective. I also like that you not only learn about themselves but you learn about the past such as Sal’s childhood through Misbah’s section. I also like that hearing from each of them means you get to know more about this story than some are willing to share.

I really enjoyed how you got to see each of the characters feelings and while they tried to hide their feelings, you got to know them. I liked how in certain sections depending on who was speaking you couldn’t tell how the others felt in a situation but then you went into their chapter and learned exactly how they felt.

Author Information

Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family. 

Queerly Beloved by Susie Dumond Book Review

Book Description

A people-pleasing baker tries to find her place as a bridesmaid-for-hire . Will she finally find her happily ever after—and her own voice?

Amy, a semicloseted queer baker and bartender in mid-2010s Oklahoma, has spent a lifetime putting other people’s needs before her own. Until, that is, she’s fired from her job at a Christian bakery and turns her a one-off gig subbing in for a bridesmaid into a full-time business—thanks to her baking talents, crafting skills, and years watching rom-coms and Say Yes to the Dress. Between her new gig and meeting Charley, the attractive engineer who’s just moved to Tulsa, suddenly Amy’s found something— and someone—she actually wants.

Her tight-knit group of chosen family is thrilled that Amy is becoming her authentic self. But when her deep desire to please kicks into overdrive, Amy’s precarious balancing act strains her relationships to the breaking point, and she must decide what it looks like to be true to herself—and if she has the courage to try. 

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was drawn to this book just based on the cover of it and I am glad I had the chance to read it. I winded up listening to this one on audio and really enjoyed the audio version of this book.

I tend to not read romance books because of the spice scenes which I am not a big fan of. This book includes a few of those scenes but they are not overdone and they add to the plot without deterring so I found them to be well done. I do think that this book is marketed as a romance but it is more of a story in which Amy is finding herself and learning to embrace that with some romance included throughout.

There were quite a few things that I really enjoyed throughout this book. I really enjoyed how we get a chance to see what it is like for Amy to have two separate lives, one in which she is out and another in which she is closeted. I like how this book brings up how hard it is to be a queer person of color or someone who doesn’t fit the binary living in that small town. I also really enjoy how this book talks about what marriage equality means for Queer people but also how it isn’t everything people think it is and how there is still more work to be done.

I also really enjoyed Amy being a baker and also her brief time as a backup bridesmaid. I really enjoyed getting to see her be in her element even as she hides a piece of herself that is important to her. I liked getting a glimpse at some of the weddings that Amy has to work at and the mess that she gets herself into at some of them.

Characters: In this book you get introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Amy. You get to meet some of her friends, Damian and Joel, her family, the love interest, Charley, and more.

I really enjoyed all of the relationships that are included in this book and love hearing about Amy’s relationship with her friends. I loved getting to see how she allowed herself to just be who she is around them without worrying about others finding out about her queerness.

I also really enjoyed the relationship between Amy and her mother. I love how Amy goes to her mom for so much yet her mother pushes her to make Queer friends to talk to because she doesn’t understand everything. I love how supportive Amy’s mother is of her and how you also see Amy’s mother in Amy when she is supporting a Queer youth later in the story.

Writing Style: This story is told in third person through the perspective of Amy. I really like having romance books be written in third person because I can detach from them and am able to enjoy the story as an outsider. I like that we only get things told to us in the perspective of Amy because we don’t see how others are feeling as things fall apart. I also really liked how this story is more than just a romance story and has parts that aren’t just about Charley and Amy.

Author Information

Susie Dumond is a queer writer from Little Rock, Arkansas. She is a Senior Contributor at Book Riot, where she writes a monthly Horoscopes and Book Recommendations column, as well as various quizzes, book lists, and bookish news pieces. Susie received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tulsa and a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the George Washington University. Currently, she’s probably making cupcakes at her home in Washington, DC, with her partner Mary, her dog Waffles, and her cat Maple.

Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster by Andrea Mosqueda Book Tour Post

Book Description

Title: Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster

Author: Andrea Mosqueda

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: May 24th, 2022 

Genres: Young Adult, contemporary, romance 

Synopsis:

In this voice-driven young adult debut by Andrea Mosqueda, Maggie Gonzalez needs a date to her sister’s quinceañera – and fast.

Growing up in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, Maggie Gonzalez has always been a little messy, but she’s okay with that. After all, she has a great family, a goofy group of friends, a rocky romantic history, and dreams of being a music photographer. Tasked with picking an escort for her little sister’s quinceañera, Maggie has to face the truth: that her feelings about her friends—and her future—aren’t as simple as she’d once believed.

As Maggie’s search for the perfect escort continues, she’s forced to confront new (and old) feelings for three of her friends: Amanda, her best friend, and first-ever crush; Matthew, her ex-boyfriend twice over who refuses to stop flirting with her, and Dani, the new girl who has romantic baggage of her own. On top of this romantic disaster, she can’t stop thinking about the uncertainty of her own plans for the future and what that means for the people she loves.

As the weeks wind down and the boundaries between friendship and love become hazy, Maggie finds herself more and more confused with each photo. When her tried-and-true medium causes more chaos than calm, Maggie needs to figure out how to avoid certain disaster—or be brave enough to dive right into it. 

Book links

Goodreads ~ Blackwells ~ Amazon ~ Book Depository ~ Barnes & Noble

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was drawn to this book because of its title since it describes my life. I’m so glad that I got a chance to read this one because there was so much to love about this book.

I really enjoyed the way that this story was told, and how things unfolded in this book. I liked that this whole thing first starts as Maggie needing to find an escort to Alyssa’s Quincenera. I loved how Maggie uses her school project to express her feelings about the three people she is trying to select from to try and see if that provides any clarity.

I thought that the whole story was done really well and I love that Maggie talks about how she doesn’t want others to think she’s a bisexual stereotype because she can’t decide. I like that this book brings up biphobia in subtle ways and talks about how harmful it can be. I also really enjoyed how real Maggie’s feelings were and how you felt things along with her each time her heart was broken.

Characters: In this book you get to meet several characters through their interactions with your main character, Maggie. You get to meet her sisters, Alyssa and Veronica, her mom, her best friend, Amanda, her ex, Matthew, and some other friends, Dani and Jordan.

I really liked the relationship that Maggie has with each of the characters that you are introduced to in this book. I love how this book shows that you can love so many people and that love is felt differently and shown differently depending on the type of love.

I love how supportive Maggie’s family is of her sexuality and how they are always there to support her through whatever she is going through. I really liked getting to read about the relationship Maggie has with each of her sisters and see how that developed over time. I liked getting to know their past a little and why they were so close with each other. I also liked how Maggie and Alyssa both acknowledge the role that Veronica has in raising them and how they support her as well the best they can.

I loved Maggie’s relationship with each of the people that she is trying to choose from. I loved how she really did have feelings for each of them but she had to let go of past feelings to allow herself to have new ones. I liked that we got to see how those past feelings were still affecting her and how we also got a glimpse into why she may still be holding onto those feelings.

Writing Style: This book is told in the first person from the perspective of Maggie. The story included the Instagram post that was a part of Maggie’s project along with text messages that she exchanged with her friends.

I liked seeing the caption for the post that Maggie was putting on her page. I kept thinking that they were a little obvious so I had to keep reminding myself that the only people who had access to this page were Maggie and her teacher. I liked that Maggie poured out her true feelings onto this page and didn’t hold anything back.

I think that this story is being told from only Maggie’s perspective which was a good choice because we don’t know how the others feel about her. We only know the feelings that Maggie is projecting onto them and is assuming about them. I liked that when things are wrapping up we really aren’t sure what direction things are going to go in. We are hoping for the best just like Maggie, but we are unsure about the future.

Author Information

Andrea Mosqueda is a Chicana writer. She was born and raised in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her partner and works in the publishing industry as an assistant editor. When she’s not writing or editing, she can be found doing her makeup, drinking too much coffee, and angsting over children’s media. Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster is her first book.

Author Links 

Goodreads ~Twitter ~Instagram ~ Tiktok

Book Tour Schedule

May 18th

Rampantreading – Favorite Quotes 

 Sanjariti – Instagram Feed Post

May 19th 

The Phantom of Booktube – Instagram Feed Post

@brittmariereadshere – Recommendations based on book

SheReadytoRead – Instagram Feed Post

May 20th 

Unconventional Quirky Bibliophile – Mood Board

Bookloversbookreviews – Reading vlog

May 21st

Purposely Unperfect – Playlist

Phobosxbooks – Instagram Feed Post

May 22nd

Mella’s Musings – Favorite Quotes

ReadWithKate – Favorite Quotes

May 23rd

Lemmi Bookmark That! – Blog Interview

cassiesbookshelves – Book recommendations based on the book

May 24th

Readwithatlas – Book recommendations based on the book

LadyReader – Instagram Feed Post

Books_and_Dice – Favorite Quotes