Showing posts with label sapphic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sapphic. Show all posts

Thursday, May 4, 2017

If You Loved That, You'll Love This - F/F Edition with Julia Ember + GIVEAWAY

I’ve seen a few Twitter threads over the last few days asking for f/f YA in certain genres. I also hear from straight readers who are new to LGBTQ lit, that they’re not sure which books would be the best gateway for them. I love recommending books and hooking readers up with a book that will speak to them, whether the book is mine or not. 

In this post, I’m going to cover f/f YA that has been released in the last couple of years, paired with heterosexual or m/m YA books that I also enjoyed. Most of these books are #ownvoices representation. 



IF YOU LOVED: ARTEMIS FOWL by Eoin Colfer
YOU'LL LOVE: NOT YOUR SIDEKICK by C.B. Lee

Why? I read Artemis Fowl when I was 12, and it still holds a place in my heart. It’s witty, fast-paced, laugh out loud funny, with a teen villain as the main character. NOT YOUR SIDEKICK is on the MG end of the YA spectrum, so I think it’s a perfect step up for readers who loved ARTEMIS. Like ARTEMIS FOWL, NOT YOUR SIDEKICK has an endearingly funny protagonist, who is trying to carve out a place for herself. Although Jess isn’t a villain, she does come into contact with a whole host of them. When I first read NOT YOUR SIDEKICK last year, I described it as queer Despicable Me meets ARTEMIS FOWL. I still believe that to be true. If you want an adorable, clean YA story about heroes and villains, that will make you laugh, this book is for you. Goodreads | Amazon


IF YOU LOVED: THE ASSASSIN'S HEART by Sarah Ahiers
YOU'LL LOVE: ASSASSINS: DISCORD by Erica Cameron

Why? Okay, I am embarrassingly obsessed with assassin novels. If it’s a YA book published in the last five years, and it features a female assassin, there’s a good chance that I’ve read it and loved it. I had a lot of options for comparison titles for this book. As far as I know, ASSASSINS: DISCORD is the only f/f assassins book out there. 

I chose ASSASSIN'S HEART as the comparison for several reasons. The first, is that both books feature crime families locked in epic rivalries. There’s a little bit of a murderous Romeo and Juliet feel to both novels. The other reason, is as much as I love some of the other assassins books out there, many of them are ‘problematic favs’ of mine that I know feature some terrible representation. I can’t use those books in post with a clear conscience. ASSASSIN'S HEART was a great book that I did not find to be problematic. I can recommend both of these books without reservations. Goodreads | Amazon


IF YOU LOVED: THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN by Roshani Chokshi
YOU'LL LOVE: OF FIRE AND STARS by Audrey Coulthurst

Why? Both of these books are lyrically written, diverse, sweeping fantasies that centre the romance as a prominent part of the plot. I loved Roshani Chokshi’s world-building. It was rich and textured. The romance she developed between Maya and Amar was also swoon-worthy. I felt the same way about OF FIRE AND STARS. The writing in this book was truly beautiful. The world felt sumptuous, decadent and full. The romance progressed slowly and tenderly. If you want a true fantasy romance, this one is for you. Goodreads | Amazon


IF YOU LOVED: ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
YOU'LL LOVE: GRRRLS ON THE SIDE by Carrie Pack

Why? GRRRLS ON THE SIDE has a very distinctly late 80s/early 90s feel to it. It focuses on the Riot Grrrl feminist movement in the early 90s that spurred on a lot of feminist developments. The reason I liken it to ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE is first for the era, but also the focus of the story for both main characters is on coming to understand themselves. Both novels have a strong narrative voice, slow burn queer romances, and focus on self-discovery. Grrrls on the Side will be released in June 2017. Goodreads | Amazon


IF YOU LOVED: ALANNA: THE FIRST ADVENTURE by Tamora Pierce or CROWN DUEL by Sherwood Smith
YOU'LL LOVE: MARIAN by Ella Lyons

Why? MARIAN has a very classic, adventure fantasy feel. Like both ALANNA and CROWN DUEL, it centres a badass female character who learns to defy the gender norms in her society. It’s written in a similar, fast-paced 3rd person style, and the story is very plot-driven. There also isn’t a heavy focus on magic or mythical creatures. The romance in the story is on-page, and there is enough content to fuel the shippers, but romance is not the focus of this story. We’re here for Marian's story and her development. It is also the start of a series. Goodreads | Amazon



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Julia Ember is a polyamorous, bisexual writer and native of Chicago who now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Seafarer’s Kiss is her second novel and was influenced by her postgraduate work in medieval literature at The University of St. Andrews. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks was published by Harmony Ink Press.
Website | Twitter | Facebook

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THE SEAFARER’S KISS, out on May 4th 2017 with Interlude Press

"Having long wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, ninet
een-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the merfolk’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: Say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from the divine Loki. But such deals are never straightforward, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies."
Interlude | Amazon | B&N

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Recommendation: 27 Hours (The Nightside Saga #1) - Tristina Wright: Queer Teens in Space

In 27 HOURS, five queer teens are trying to save the colonized moon Sahara from getting run over by gargoyles.

What intrigued me: You had me at queer.

Fast-Paced, Creative, Breathtaking.

27 HOURS is the queer space extravaganza that you've been waiting for. Wright starts the story with a bang and you won't have time to take a breath until the 27 hours time for the kids to stop the war between humans and gargoyles are over. If you like fast-paced action-filled stories with a side of very queer romance, you will adore this.

And if that isn't already enough to hook you: I was immediately impressed with the skillful prose; 27 HOURS is one of those books that makes you want to pick up a pen right now and start writing. Dripping with creativity, originality, and a truly fantastically-built intricate fictional world, I am in absolute awe of Wright's talent. An absolute recommendation for fans of Laini Taylor and Susan Ee.

This one's for the LGBT kids.

It's impossible to talk about 27 HOURS without mentioning the excellent representation it provides. It did move me to tears to see so many marginalized identities (some that I do share) finally represented in a SFF book. There are no words to describe how much it means to me to find nuanced representation for people whose identities in YA fiction are usually just exploited for the shock value. 
27 HOURS truly aims to represent with on-the-page statements and a cast that couldn't be queerer (no straight protagonists! When's the last time you saw THAT?). 27 HOURS is one of the very few books that I would unconditionally recommend to queer kids of color and disabled queer kids of color. Heck, if you're disabled, queer, or a POC, or all of these things, you will weep gentle tears of joy when reading about characters who look like you going on a space adventure.

This list will speak more than a thousand words:

On-the-page diverse protagonist representation:
  • Nyx: latinx (Cuban), Deaf, pansexual
  • Braeden: asexual
  • Dahlia: trans girl, darkskin/black latinx, bisexual
  • Rumor: multiracial (Nigerian and Portugese dad, Indian mom), bisexual
  • Jude: gay
There are a ton of queer side characters - Jude's mom is married to a woman, Jude's brother Trick is gay, Jude's brothers partner uses they/them pronouns. 27 HOURS is probably the queerest fantasy read of the year and I am eternally grateful for that.



Rating:

★★★★★



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Even if you are not interested in this personally, I BEG YOU to gift this to your lgbt friends of color. This book is for the Deaf LGBT teens of color out there. I think it may be the only one of its kind. Queer teens in space, y'all. I cried. Your disabled QPOC friends will cry. Representation matters.

Trigger warnings: violence, war, blood



Additional Info

Published: October 3rd 2017
Pages: 400
Publisher: Entangled TEEN
Genre: YA / Sci-Fi / Space & Other Planets
ISBN: 9781633758216

Synopsis:
"Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother's shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon's darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left."
(Source: Goodreads)



What's your favorite book featuring queer teens of color?

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

[Review] The Olive Conspiracy - Shira Glassman: Jewish Fantasy and Queerness

In THE OLIVE CONSPIRACY, Chef Yael is blackmailed because she is transgender and Queen Shualmit is not having any of that.

What intrigued me: Jewish fantasy! Who'd say no to that. I love high fantasy in diverse settings so much.

Extremely Diverse 

Even though THE OLIVE CONSPIRACY technically belongs to Glassman's Mangoverse series, you do not have to have read the other books to read this one. There are a lot of established character relationships that you will have no problem understanding if this is your first Mangoverse read. Quite on the contrary actually, I found myself growing very interested in her characters and am even more intrigued to read the rest of the series because THE OLIVE CONSPIRACY hints at all the interesting things happening before.

THE OLIVE CONSPIRACY is so diverse - it's fantastic. There are transgender, sapphic, and POC characters whom you'll all grow to love. The Mangoverse is inhabited by different peoples who all have their unique customs and Glassman cleverly uses this to establish Jewish customs and familiarize the reader with the setting. THE OLIVE CONSPIRACY is a very easy and educational read that absolutely managed to fascinate.

Charming and Educational

THE OLIVE CONSPIRACY reads quite like a cozy mystery in a diverse high fantasy setting. Though I hoped to see the story anchored to a specific character, which ultimately made it a little more difficult for me to follow the plot. Glassman narrates for the most part from an omniscient perspective that sometimes focuses on shape-shifting wizard Isaac, whom I absolutely grew to adore. 

I wish the story would've been told from a different perspective, maybe first-person. Especially for first-time readers of the Mangoverse it does irritate a little and did make it a bit harder for me to truly get invested. THE OLIVE CONSPIRACY does work as a stand-alone and is an absolute must-read if you're looking to diversify yours(h)elf. I found myself learning a lot about Jewish culture that I didn't know before and found it quite charming how effortlessly Glassman incorporates this into the setting. 


Rating:

★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE OLIVE CONSPIRACY is a unique and original delight. Jewish queer fantasy at its best and if you want to learn more about Jewish culture, I absolutely recommend this novel considering that it's written by a Jewish writer.



Additional Info

Published: July 20th 2016
Pages: 229
Genre: Adult / High Fantasy
ISBN: 9781944449780

Synopsis:
"When Ezra tries to blackmail Chef Yael about her being trans, she throws him out of her restaurant and immediately reports him to the queen. When police find Ezra stabbed to death, Queen Shulamit realizes he may have also tried to extort someone more dangerous than a feisty old lady.

The royal investigation leads straight to an international terrorist plot to destroy her country’s economy—and worse, her first love, Crown Princess Carolina of Imbrio, may be involved. Since she’s got a dragon-shifting wizard at her disposal, contacts with friendly foreign witches, and the support of her partner Aviva, Shulamit has hope. What she doesn’t have is time.

A love story between women, between queen and country, and between farmers and their crops."(Source: Goodreads)


Have you ever read Jewish fantasy?

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