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

She Gets The Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick Book Review

Book Description

Alex Blackwood is a little bit headstrong, with a dash of chaos and a whole lot of flirt. She knows how to get the girl. Keeping her on the other hand…not so much. Molly Parker has everything in her life totally in control, except for her complete awkwardness with just about anyone besides her mom. She knows she’s in love with the impossibly cool Cora Myers. She just…hasn’t actually talked to her yet.

Alex and Molly don’t belong on the same planet, let alone the same college campus. But when Alex, fresh off a bad (but hopefully not permanent) breakup, discovers Molly’s hidden crush as their paths cross the night before classes start, they realize they might have a common interest after all. Because maybe if Alex volunteers to help Molly learn how to get her dream girl to fall for her, she can prove to her ex that she’s not a selfish flirt. That she’s ready for an actual commitment. And while Alex is the last person Molly would ever think she could trust, she can’t deny Alex knows what she’s doing with girls, unlike her.

As the two embark on their five-step plans to get their girls to fall for them, though, they both begin to wonder if maybe they’re the ones falling…for each other.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was so surprised to see an arc of this book in my mailbox and was so happy to get a chance to read it. I decided to listen to it on audiobook since it was the first book on a readathon that I am doing. I followed along with the physical book though and really enjoyed the audiobook of this one.

I really liked the way this whole story begins with Alex trying to help Molly get with Cora in order to prove to her ex-girlfriend, Natalie that she isn’t just a flirt and cares about more than just herself. I love the way all of this unfolds and this whole story reminds me of my first relationship and how that all became a disaster.

This is definitely one that I am going to want to read more than once for so many reasons. There were just so many cute moments that occur throughout the story between our main characters. I love how the romance develops and love how what they thought they wanted was so wrong for both of them.

Characters: In this book you get introduced to both of the main characters, Molly and Alex as well as some of the people that they interact with. I really enjoyed each of the characters that you get to meet through this story and liked how we know little about some characters and a lot about others.

I really liked how different Molly and Alex are from each other and how unlikely their friendship is right from the start. I loved getting to know more about each character apart from each other and how their home life affects their college life. I also really liked getting to know more about their friendship and the things the similarities that they share.

I love Molly and how ridiculously naïve and dorky she is. There are so many moments in which I have second hand embarrassment for her or I’m screaming at her for something she isn’t saying. I just love watching her fumble as she tries to flirt with people and follow the steps that Alex has lay out for her.

I liked getting to see Molly and Alex’s relationship with their mothers and how different each of them are from one another. I also really enjoyed the relationship that develops between Alex and her boss at the food truck. I thought this was great to see and I love how he helps her out even though he has a tough exterior. I think because of how alike those two are their relationship dynamic works out and I like how we see them open up to each other.

Writing Style: This story is written in first person going back and forth from the perspectives of Molly and Alex. I really liked getting both of their sides throughout this book because it allowed you to get to know both girls independently of each other. I liked getting to see both of their lives outside of the university and how that impacts the way they interact with each other.

Author Information

Rachael Lippincott is the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Five Feet Apart. She holds a BA in English writing from the University of Pittsburgh. Originally from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, she currently resides in Pittsburgh with her wife and their dog, Hank.

Alyson Derrick was born and raised in Greenville, Pennsylvania, a town where burn barrels take the place of recycling bins. After making her great escape to Pittsburgh, where she earned her bachelor’s in English writing, Alyson started her own food truck, but soon realized she much prefers telling stories over slinging cheesesteaks. She is the coauthor of New York Times bestseller She Gets the Girl and author of Forget Me Not. Alyson currently resides in Pennsylvania with her wife and their dog, Hank.

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes Book Review

Book Description

Seventeen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers drawing attention for her killer eyeliner, not for being the new kid at a mostly white, very rich, Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she’s gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way. After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend, she could use the fresh start.

At Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: make her mom proud, keep her brother out of trouble, and most importantly, don’t fall in love. Granted, she’s never been great at any of those things, but that’s a problem for Future Yami.

The thing is, it’s hard to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly perfect. And smart. And talented. And cute. Either way, Yami isn’t going to make the same mistake again. If word got back to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection. So she’ll have to start asking, WWSGD: What would a straight girl do?

Told in a captivating voice that is by turns hilarious, vulnerable, and searingly honest, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School explores the joys and heartaches of living your full truth out loud.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: The minute that I heard about this book I was so excited to read it. I kept seeing this book all of the social media of some of my favorite authors which is also part of what intrigued me to read it, if they all loved it so much then I think I would too.

Thank you to Books Forward for the chance to read an advanced reader’s copy of this book.

There was so much that I really enjoyed about this book and it was really hard to put down once I started reading. I really enjoyed how Catholicism was tied up in this book, and how we have characters who are really connected to their faith and others who aren’t. I really liked how Catholicism’s views on Gay people are challenged by some of the characters in this story. Books that include queerness and religion, especially Catholic religion, will always have a special place in my heart . This books show me that the two can co-exist and how queer people have made this religion into something that serves them rather than letting it take away parts of them.

Characters: In this book you get introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Yamilet. You get to meet some of her school friends, Hunter, Bo, Amber, and David, along with her brother, Cesar, her “boyfriend”, Jamil, and her mom and dad.

I really enjoyed getting to know all of the characters that you meet throughout this book and I really enjoyed the relationships that Yamilet has with each one of them. I really liked the connection between Yamilet and Cesar and how their bond is strengthened because of the secret that they share. I thought this was a great addition to this book as we see how two seperate characters are dealing with similar issues and have similar fears.

I liked getting to see Yami’s relationship with her dad and how much she relies on him throughout the book. I like how she finds him to be the only one she can trust and also how she believes he’s the only one who believes in her. I like how we get to know her dad through her thoughts about him and the brief conversations she has with him.

I also really enjoyed Yamilet and Bo’s friendship throughout the book and how that develops. I love how Yamilet is trying to keep her feelings from Bo a secret throughout this book and how we know exactly why she is scared of revealing those feelings. I also like how her reason to keep those feelings to herself changes throughout the book.

Writing Style: This book is written in the first person and told through the perspective of Yamilet. I really liked getting to see everything through her perspective because we get to see her feelings. I also liked that we don’t get to know what the others are thinking or get to see how anything is affecting them. I think this makes you a lot more interested in reading to know what is going to happen to those relationships. I also liked things being in her perspective because we get a chance to feel what she feels along with her.

Author Information

Born and raised in Arizona, Sonora Reyes writes fiction full of queer and Latinx characters in a variety of genres, with current projects in both kidlit and adult categories. Sonora currently lives in Arizona in a multi-generational family home with a small pack of dogs who run the place. Outside of writing, Sonora loves dancing, singing karaoke, and playing with their baby niblings.

Alyse Diaries by B. Danielle Watkins Book Review

Book Description

““The Alysé Diaries”, a riveting new series by acclaimed author B. Danielle Watkins, is a controversial drama vastly different from the previous “No Other Man” tragedy series. Volume one, befittingly entitled “Curious”, deals with Sentury’s innate yearning to being in sexual relationships with women. As a star basketball player at Montana College, Sentury is highly sought after, but not in the ways she previously envisioned. Plagued with the ideals of religion and society, Sentury is forced to submerge her feelings and move towards the life she thought she wanted. Juggling basketball, women, and a serious relationship with a man, Sentury has until the WNBA draft to figure out the ultimate life she wants to lead.

“The Alysé Diaries”, written as diary entries from begin to end. Every word, every description, every conversation will be depicted as Sentury saw through her eyes. This story is not only impeccable, but it details many things that women go through when battling within themselves. Touching on topics like religion, government, safe-sex, polyamory relationships and more. “The Alysé Diaries” proves to be not only a thrilling story, but an eye-opening experience to the world of down-low lesbianism.”

Review

Thoughts and Themes: This is one that I decided to read because I was drawn in by the description of the book when I was asked to provide a review for it. I am glad that I read it though even if it was different than my typical read.

Right from the very few pages you know how this story is going to end but I forgot about that as I was reading and was invested in the story and not so much the ending. I really liked how this story drew you in and you wanted to hear more about the main character and go along her journey with her.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with the main character, Sentury. While you are introduced to many characters, you dont really get to know anyone in depth. I really liked how you only get to know side characters on a surface level because that’s how our main character views them. I love that you only get to know side people if the main character is close with them and trusts them.

Writing Style: This story is told in diary entries which I found rather interesting. I liked that it was written through diary entries because it made for a unreliable narrator. There were times where I wanted to know things from the other character’s perspectives but I thought it was good that we didn’t get to know what others thought. The fact that all we know is how Alyse has experienced things makes it so that it is easy to sympathize with her.

Author Information

WHO IS B. DANIELLE WATKINS?

New York is not only known for its famous hot wings, its historical museums, and it’s beautiful

One World Observatory where you can see the skyline and the stars from high above, it is also the “City of Dreams”, and the place where rising star B. Danielle Watkins began her journey. B. Danielle Watkins, international award-winning filmmaker, and author is a native of Buffalo, New York. Watkins is on top of her game, rapidly paving her way to success with her many accomplishments.

Danielle began laying the groundwork for her career at the age of nine, not aware that her gift of writing would take her to higher heights in her future endeavors. By the age of 15, Watkins had her first poem published in the “Poetry Gems Collection”, presented by the Famous Poets Society.

It did not stop there, this tenacious young lady put her talents to work by publishing  a three novel trilogy entitled “The No other Man Three Part Tragedy” released in 2011/2012. In 2013, Watkins began working her way up the ladder to join the ranks of some of the greats when she was officially named the head of the Creative Writing Department for M Power Productions, LLC based out of Atlanta, Georgia, the same place that the great Tyler Perry studios is located.

Working with M Power productions allowed this fierce lady to advance her way onto stage and screenwriting. In 2014, Watkins produced her first sold out show respectively titled “BlacButterflii: The Saigon Ruse Story” which premiered in Atlanta, Georgia. During this time, she was also creating a name for herself in the industry. B. Danielle decided to try her hand in writing the Gender Diverse Digital Series, “Girls Just Don’t Do That”, giving way to a fresh new perspective of the LGBTQ community and the real-life circumstances that are addressed and often marginalized. This series portrayed an open honest common-sense view to relationships, hardships and intimacy.

In January 2016, Watkins made major power moves by launching her own production company named Dream N 1 Productions based out of Las Vegas, NV. Later the same year her newly found production company produced its first major production entitled “Parallel the Documentary” based on her true-life experiences as the first African-American Filmmaker at the first all lesbian film festival in Paducah, Kentucky. This documentary has since been screened internationally in two countries, winning awards such as Best Director and Audience Choice, and causing her name to circulate through the film festival circuit.

Taking her career to the next level Ms. Watkins became the first and only African American filmmaker to write, produce and star in a REVRY original series, “3030”. 2019 proved to be one of her most defining years in her film career. After winning four Telly Awards for the documentary entitled “GRRRL: The Beauty of the Beast” and launching the second season in her original series “3030”. She has earned a plethora of accolades and acknowledgements in the film industry, making her an alchemist in the game.

Adding to the list of talents Watkins added journalist to her resume when she became Staff Writer for MIM Magazine.  A graduate of the HBCU Winston Salem State University, and a member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. B. Danielle Watkins gives new meaning to the saying “Black Girls Rock”; Author, Filmmaker, Screenwriter, Actress, producer breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings and propelling her way to the top. Watkins is a woman on the move, a rising star, and as Hip-Hop Artist Tobe Nwigwe would say it’s time to “EAT”!

Jestin Kase and the Masters of Dragon Metal by J. Michael White Spotlight Post

Book Description

Mankind lost the battle for its soul without knowing. Evil won. And no Chosen Ones are coming to the rescue.

Enter Jestin Kase, a foster kid on the run in Chicago. He finds himself drawn into the underbelly of civilization, where the Three Great Schools of Magic are crippled by their own corruption and unable to push back against the Great Dark. Monsters from Babylonian myth, demons, and the enthralled thrive beneath the notice of everyone. Only one force of good remains: an ancient magic called Dragon Metal. And Jestin is determined to learn its secrets.

But how much of a difference can one person make in a world that’s already fallen?

There’s no fate.

No destiny.

Only Metal. And those brave enough to wield it.

Author INformation

An award-winning journalist and author of young adult urban fantasy action-adventure stories. His career as a newspaper reporter gave him deep glimpses into the challenges of the world, from the struggles of foster care to the tragedies of murder and war. His fiction often reflects these experiences. Instead of setting his stories in alternate, dystopian futures, he looks at the dystopia of the world we live in today, through the lens of urban fantasy and adventure, with a little dark humor. Like all responsible adults, he spends his time playing video games, reading books, and watching cartoons.

Zara Hossain is Here by Sabina Khan

Book Description

Zara’s family has waited years for their visa process to be finalized so that they can officially become US citizens. But it only takes one moment for that dream to come crashing down around them.

Seventeen-year-old Pakistani immigrant, Zara Hossain, has been leading a fairly typical life in Corpus Christi, Texas, since her family moved there for her father to work as a pediatrician. While dealing with the Islamophobia that she faces at school, Zara has to lay low, trying not to stir up any trouble and jeopardize their family’s dependent visa status while they await their green card approval, which has been in process for almost nine years.

But one day her tormentor, star football player Tyler Benson, takes things too far, leaving a threatening note in her locker, and gets suspended. As an act of revenge against her for speaking out, Tyler and his friends vandalize Zara’s house with racist graffiti, leading to a violent crime that puts Zara’s entire future at risk. Now she must pay the ultimate price and choose between fighting to stay in the only place she’s ever called home or losing the life she loves and everyone in it.

From the author of the “heart-wrenching yet hopeful” (Samira Ahmed) novel, The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali, comes a timely, intimate look at what it means to be an immigrant in America today, and the endurance of hope and faith in the face of hate.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I don’t recall why I waited so long to read this book, I just know it has been on my shelves for a while before I decided to request the audiobook from my library. I’m glad that I finally got to this book because it covers a lot of important topics and I found that it handled those things quite well. There is the main plotline of this book in which a student, Tyler, is harassing Zara Hossain due to her race/ethnicity, and then there are side events that occur along with this.

This book covers Islamophobia, sexuality and religion, hate crimes, friendship, family, and more. While there is a lot going on in this book, I think that the transitions occur seamlessly and there is no moment in which you are overwhelmed with everything going on. Well you are overwhelmed because of events that happen just like the family in this story is overwhelmed but that makes you feel all the emotions of this book more.

I also really enjoy how this book discusses children following in the shoes of their parents due to their upbringing. I like how we get to see both discussions regarding this, with Zara explaining how she doesn’t agree that Tyler only did things because of his dad’s beliefs. I liked seeing how she points out how Tyler can think for himself and he only feels bad because he has gotten caught. I like that they point out how people of color are responsible for several generations when white people aren’t ever held responsible for their actions, it’s like there is always an excuse for the things that they do.

I also really like that we get to see white people’s reactions to Tyler and his actions including his attempt at an apology for his father’s actions. I thought it was important to see that alongside Zara and her family’s response as they aren’t able to just move past the events that took place. I also like that we get to see people who are on Zara’s side and those who believe her family deserved what happened. I thought it was good to see that these thoughts still exist even if people like to hide their beliefs and only let them out in microaggressions.

I really liked the way Zara has to explain why it was difficult for her to make a decision between staying in Texas or going back to Pakistan. I liked that she shows how it’s difficult regardless of what decision she makes. I think it was important that she shows if she stays in Texas she deals with racism but if she goes back to Pakistan she has to hide her sexuality and that is leaving a piece of her behind.

Characters: I really love all the characters that are introduced throughout this book as I felt that they were all well-developed and added something to the story. In this book, you get to meet several characters through their interactions with Zara. You get introduced to her family, her friends, her girlfriend, some teachers and staff at the school, as well as the kid who is bullying her.

I really loved the relationship between Chloe and Zara that you get to see developing through the beginning of the book. I liked how Zara was able to introduce Chloe to her family and they talked about coming out to their families. I also liked how both of their experiences with their queerness is different because of their family’s beliefs. I thought it was great to see Chloe try to explain how her parent’s religion dictates how they respond to things that she does. I also really like how while Zara doesn’t understand how Chloe’s religion impacts her being queer, Chloe will never understand what it’s like being a person of color.

I really enjoyed the relationship between Zara and all of the adults that are in her life. I liked seeing how much support she has from her family as well as other people in her life. I liked learning about the SJC and the instructor who is responsible for hosting them. I love the moment in which Zara’s mother defends her daughter against someone else talking about her daughter’s sexuality. I really liked how people come to Zara’s defense when it comes to her sexuality and religion, it was great to see what support should look like for LGBTQ+ youth.

Author Information

Sabina Khan is the author of the upcoming YA novel MEET ME IN MUMBAI, as well as ZARA HOSSAIN IS HERE and THE LOVE & LIES OF RUKHSANA ALI. She is an educational consultant and a karaoke enthusiast. After living in Germany, Bangladesh, Macao, Illinois and Texas, she has finally settled down in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, with her husband, two daughters and the best puppy in the world.

Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sabina_Writer
and Facebook:
www.facebook.com/SabinaKhanAuthor/
Find out more at
https://sabina-khan.com/ 

Atonement Camp for Redemption by Evan J Corbin Book Tour Post

Book Description

Rick Harris finds himself back at a place he never thought he’d return—the Atonement Camp. With Marilyn now serving as camp director, Rick turns away from his empty home—and his equally vacant pursuits with headless online suiters—to accept a job teaching at the camp. With Garrett missing, Rick and his friends soon learn that there’s more to the jobs they were offered than they were led to believe.

Meanwhile, Missy Bottom seeks revenge against Rick and those who thwarted her plan: to invalidate the New Revelation and gain her esteemed Luminary membership. Caught in the middle of warring factions of Luminaries and camp spies, Rick and his friends struggle to uncover Missy’s plans while concealing their true purpose at camp from those who begin to suspect their teaching credentials are somewhat lacking.

Old enemies become allies as Rick and his friends are forced to choose between those who would seek to invalidate the New Revelation and sacrifice all the newfound LGBTQ freedoms that came with it, and those who would leverage the ancient teaching for retribution. Rick faces an equally intractable decision—whom does he truly love? And why? Rick soon learns that the answer to those questions may be the key to solving more than one problem. 

Book Links

Amazon

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I had been seeing the first book in this series all over Instagram but I hadn’t read it since I don’t really read adult books since I am scared I won’t understand it. I decided to give this a chance though because of what it is about, when I struggle with my religion and faith all I want is books that tell me something different than what I have been hearing. I keep thinking what would happen if the world really did move in this direction and not just some parts of the world but mainly the Catholic portions of the world.

There was so much parts of this book along with the first book that I really enjoyed and winded up highlighting so much of the book because of that. I kept highlighting a lot of points because they resonated with me as Rick is finding out who he is now that he is out as a Gay man and what he wants when it comes to a relationship.

There was a portion in the start of the book that did make me almost put it down but that quickly turned around because what I believed was wrong when it came to that character. I am so glad that I continued reading because I got what I wanted from this book.

Characters: There are many characters who are introduced throughout this book and I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep track of them all. Don’t worry about that though, they all have their unique quirks which makes it easier to separate them. I think that Rick probably has a harder time separating each of them in his head than we readers do and when you read this you’ll see why I say that.

Something that I found a little frustrating was how quickly Rick moved on from one guy to another. I thought it was unrealistic how quick that transition was for all of his partners as well and how no one really communicated their feelings. I also was a little concerned with how his relationships felt very shallow because of all of this even if he insisted he loved Jimmy and had strong feelings for Ryan. I also thought that the transition from ex to friends was also really quick and I know this is the norm for queer relationships but I felt that some wouldn’t so quickly turn to friends after the feelings they supposedly had.

Writing Style: This book is written in third person with a narrator that follows around each of the characters. I was a bit hesitant about this at first but in the end I feel that this is a great way to keep you in the loop as to what is happening on all parties sides. I also think that we don’t get a lot of the interactions that Missy is having or any of the luminaries so the story isn’t entirely ruined when we get a glimpse into what they are up to.

Author Information

Evan is a member of the LGBTQ community who fancies himself as a playboy socialite, living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Between work and lucid moments of sobriety, he writes a little.  His debut novel is a light-hearted work that still manages to confront religious hypocrisy and contemporary LGBTQ struggles to balance their loss of culture with new-found civil rights.  His friends say the book is great!  Hopefully, you will as well.

How it Feels to Float by Helena Fox Book Review

Book Description

Biz knows how to float. She has her people, her posse, her mom and the twins. She has Grace. And she has her dad, who tells her about the little kid she was, who loves her so hard, and who shouldn’t be here but is. So Biz doesn’t tell anyone anything. Not about her dark, runaway thoughts, not about kissing Grace or noticing Jasper, the new boy. And she doesn’t tell anyone about her dad. Because her dad died when she was six. And Biz knows how to float, right there on the surface—normal okay regular fine.

But after what happens on the beach—first in the ocean, and then in the sand–the tethers that hold Biz steady come undone. Dad disappears, and with him, all comfort. It might be easier, better, sweeter to float all the way away? Or maybe stay a little longer, find her father, bring him back to her. Or maybe—maybe maybe maybe—there’s a third way Biz just can’t see yet.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I had this one on my shelves for a while without really knowing what it was about. It was available at my library on audiobook though so I decided why not give it a chance. From the minute I started listening to it, the narrator drew me in and I loved the characters. I was able to instantly relate to Biz even before the event that changes her happens.

There is so much in this book that I really enjoy as it covers so many topics. I liked the way this book deals with grief and different forms of grief as Biz lost her father but at some point she loses pieces of herself and who she used to be. I also liked how this book handled mental health and how that not only affects the person who is dealing with it but also those around them. I also really liked that we got to see what Bix thinks of the words that everyone is saying in an attempt to “fix her.”

I like the way we get to see Biz’s inner thoughts take over to convince her of negative things. I thought that was very realistic for mental illnesses and it reminded me of how hard it can be to tell the anxiety and depression that they are wrong. I thought that it was good that we also got to see some of the time in which Biz is in-patient treatment. I liked how it seemed that she is confused and things are happening around her but she doesn’t know why or how.

Characters: In this book you get to meet several characters through their interactions with our main character, Biz. I liked seeing all of Biz’s interactions with the different people in her life. I liked seeing how each of them react to her being depressed differently, most of the people in her life don’t know how to respond and then others are just there for her.

I liked getting to see her relationship with her mom and how that shifts throughout the course of the book. I liked getting to see how they both are trying to help each other without knowing what the other person needs. I also like how we get to see how their emotions are affecting each other.

I also liked getting to see Biz’s relationship with Jasper and how that develops through the course of the book.

I also really enjoy getting to read about Biz’s relationship with her dad which is a ghost. I like how she relies on him a lot and doesn’t really know how to live without his presence there. I like how he seems to disappear when it seems that she doesn’t need him but she takes it differently.

Author Information

Helena Fox lives in Wollongong, Australia, where she runs creative writing workshops for young people. She’s a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.
She has travelled widely, living in Peru, Spain, the U.K, Samoa, and the US. Of all her adventures, Helena is proudest of the work she has done helping young people find and express their voice.


How It Feels To Float is her debut novel.

So This is Ever After by F.T. Lukens Book Review

Book Description

Arek hadn’t thought much about what would happen after he completed the prophecy that said he was destined to save the Kingdom of Ere from its evil ruler. So now that he’s finally managed to (somewhat clumsily) behead the evil king (turns out magical swords yanked from bogs don’t come pre-sharpened), he and his rag-tag group of quest companions are at a bit of a loss for what to do next.

As a temporary safeguard, Arek’s best friend and mage, Matt, convinces him to assume the throne until the true heir can be rescued from her tower. Except that she’s dead. Now Arek is stuck as king, a role that comes with a magical catch: choose a spouse by your eighteenth birthday, or wither away into nothing.

With his eighteenth birthday only three months away, and only Matt in on the secret, Arek embarks on a desperate bid to find a spouse to save his life—starting with his quest companions. But his attempts at wooing his friends go painfully and hilariously wrong…until he discovers that love might have been in front of him all along.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: Once I finished reading In Deeper Waters, I knew I had to get my hands on this book so I pre-ordered it. Thankfully I winded up getting the chance to read an advanced reader’s copy through Netgalley because I didn’t want to have to wait for this book.

This book does have a slow start because they have to introduce the characters to you, the world, and the magic that is involved. This being said the slow start was perfectly fine with me as I loved learning about these characters, their magic, and the new kingdom that they are tasked with running.

The book does pick up around the 50% mark as you get to see a lot more action happening with fighting scenes and also scenes where the team is introduced to new people. I enjoyed reading the scenes in which the team was in danger as this made me want to continue reading to see if they got themselves out this time and how they managed to do this. I liked getting a chance to see them all in action as a team and see how their strengths work with each other to defeat anything/anyone they come across.

Something I really enjoyed about this book was the theme of found family, I just think that the book captured the feelings of this quite well. I really enjoyed seeing each of the character’s relationships with each other and how supportive they are of one another. I also really liked how they all felt like a family and it felt like they had known each other their whole lives.

I really enjoyed getting to learn about the magic that was involved in this new kingdom and how the magic affected the king. I liked learning alongside each of the characters because the reader’s reaction sometimes mirrors Arek’s reactions as he finds out more about what he got himself into.

Characters: In this book, you are introduced to several characters as they are the team that is working with King Arek to run this kingdom. You get to meet his best friend Matt, Sionna, Rion, Lila, and Bethany, each of which I winded up loving from the moment that you meet them. It’s really easy to see why King Arek keeps these people around and why he is so scared to lose them.

I loved all of the characters and their relationships with each other. I liked getting to see how Arek interacted with each of the people on his team and to see him stumble through trying to woo anyone. I really enjoyed getting a chance to see each of the characters on their own to see their traits, characteristics, and abilities shine on their own. I thought it was great to have moments in which each of them was able to provide Arek with something that another person wouldn’t be able to provide.

Something else I enjoyed about the characters was the number of Queer characters that were included in this book. I don’t believe any sexualities were ever named but you see who each of the characters end up dating and/or who they attempt to have relationships with.

Writing Style: This story is written in the first person through the perspective of King Arek which I thought was great. I really liked getting to see everything through his perspective even if there were times that I wanted to know what others thought about certain things that were happening. I really would’ve liked to see some of the stories unfold through Matt’s perspective but I think if that was included certain scenes wouldn’t have been as impactful to the reader.

Author Information

F.T. Lukens is an award-winning author of Young Adult fiction. A sci fi enthusiast, F.T. loves Star Wars and Star Trek and is a longtime member of their college’s science-fiction club. F.T. holds degrees in Psychology and English Literature and has a love of cheesy television shows, superhero movies, and writing. F.T. lives in North Carolina with their spouse, three kids, three dogs, and three cats.

F.T.’s urban fantasy novel The Rules and Regulations For Mediating Myths & Magic won several awards including the 2017 Foreword INDIES Gold Award for Young Adult Fiction, the 2017 IPBA Benjamin Franklin Gold Award for Best Teen Fiction and the 2017 Bisexual Book Award for Speculative Fiction. It was also named to the 2019 ALA Rainbow Book List.