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.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn Book Review

Summary: There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.

Thoughts: Thank You to FlatIron Books for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for my review.

I only recently realized how much I love fantasy and sci-fi books. I just rarely read them because it takes me longer to get through them. It takes me a while to get all the characters straight along with getting the lay of their world. I didn’t let that keep me from reading this book though and I am glad for that. This was an original story and I loved that it borrowed from Persian culture which was something I had yet to read about.

At only 50 pages in I couldn’t put this book down because I already loved the princess, Soraya, and the div, Parveneh, that she was meeting with. I love the relationships that are built throughout the book and how those relationships change Soraya. Each relationship she forms adds to her past knowledge, or it adds to the person she is trying to be.

I really enjoyed watching as you find out not only about Soraya but about the mysterious boy who seems to come to her rescue. I like seeing the similarities in the two and watching as Soraya decides what she is going to do with her life. I found that he was an instrumental part in the decisions that Soraya makes and the way that she leans into who she is meant to be.

As you read along you find out more about Soraya and the curse that she has on her. I like that you are finding out her history along with her and are learning about this world she lives in along with her as well. Its great to see how while she isn’t naive to the world there is so much she has yet to learn about her surroundings and the people she thought she knew.

I love how descriptive each scene is as if you are there with Soraya. I can picture myself going along on this adventure which is all I want from a fantasy book. I really enjoyed the world building in this book as it was easy to follow, and there was no point at which I was confused about what was happening or where they were at.

The twist in this book is so unexpected and I love how it is done. It adds to the story and makes the characters even more lovable. This is a love story like no other that I have read in the past and I love that it wasn’t about a girl who needed to be rescued but about her rescuing herself and those that she loves.

I recommend this to those of you who enjoy fantasy, are looking for bisexual mcs, want action and adventure, or are looking for a young adult fantasy with a female lead.

You can pre-order this book at Eso Won Books or look for it at your local library coming July 7th.