June Wrap-up

Sorry for the lack of posts during the past couple of weeks, I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed so I took an unplanned break.

I wanted to dedicate June to reading exclusively LGBTQ+ books, and I ended up reading a total of 33 books. I didn’t quite manage to stick to my TBR, though – I read only 4 books off my TBR. The reason for that is mainly because I wanted to prioritize Black authors.

In July, I’m participating in Transathon (my TBR will be up very soon!), so hopefully I’ll get to read a lot of books by trans authors!

In this post, I’ll share my Goodreads reviews of my 4 and 5 star reads of June. Want to keep track of my reading in more detail? Feel free to add me on Goodreads!

Tee Franklin – Bingo Love

Okay, this was maybe not the best queer graphic novel of all time. As in, the writing was a little simplistic and didn’t flow very well, and the pacing in dialogues felt rushed – people would get their points across very quickly. But I fell in love with the art, and I loved seeing two older women of colour in love, and I just thought this was a very heartwarming story, even though it does have its sad moments.

CWs: homophobia, birth

Julian Winters – The Summer of Everything

Julian Winters is the king of adorable, fluffy contemporary romance. This was such an uplifting, heartwarming and, above all, nerdy and fun read. The main character is amazing – it’s impossible to not love this gay nerd who’s named after Wesley Crusher. And the setting? Most of the book is set in an indie bookstore! I feel like Julian Winters’ writing gets exponentially better – this is perfect if you want to read something wholesome.

Rep: biracial gay MC, multi-gender attracted Mexican-American love interest, biracial side character, fat side character, Black side character, queer Hawaiian (Polynesian-Filippino-Japanese) side character, aroace side character, Black lesbian side character, non-binary side character

CWs: illness (cancer) of a side character, discussions of racism

Akwaeke Emezi – Pet

I keep having so much trouble writing 5 star reviews. I just want to say: please read this, it’s amazing.

So: please read this, it’s amazing. This book is about a Black trans girl with selective mutism – sometimes she speaks, sometimes she uses sign language. It deals with morality, and with the importance to believe victims.

CWs: pedophilia/child sexual abuse (not explicit), descriptions of blood and wounds, some body horror

Jessica Love – Julián Is a Mermaid

I didn’t review this, but it was a beautiful picture book.

Maia Kobabe – Gender Queer

This was exactly what I needed today, and I’m so grateful it exists. I picked it up because of a bout of intense self doubt brought on by transphobia, and it was so relatable, affirming and validating. It helped me understand myself more than I was able to before. I especially loved how accurately this grasped the intersection between being asexual and being genderqueer, both identities I share. It left me extremely emotional and I’m going to make my family read it too, so they can hopefully understand me better as well.

Rep: bi aspec genderqueer MC, several queer and non-binary side characters

CWs: gynaecological exam, blood, sex, mention of cancer

Kacen Callender – Hurricane Child

I didn’t write a review for this, but it was a beautiful book.

Katie O’Neill – The Tea Dragon Tapestry

“Everything that happens is part of your wholeness. The sadness, the loss, the hurt, as well as the joy, the love, the friendship — it is all part of your tapestry.”

I’ve had to do a lot of self care this week, so getting approved for one of my most anticipated graphic novels of the year was absolutely perfect timing. These graphic novels are beyond comforting; they feel like such a safe space, and the art is so stunning and adorable and soothing. You know the feeling of lowering yourself into a warm bath and feeling all your muscles relax? That’s honestly how it feels to read Katie O’Neill’s books.

It was just wonderful meeting all of these characters again. Greta is trying to become a blacksmith apprentice, Minette is trying to come to terms with her past and figuring out what her future will bring. And Hesekiel and Erik have me soft as always. This was a truly beautiful ending to this series.

P.S.: I need a chamomile tea dragon in my life so badly. Have you seen the plushies in Oni Press’s webshop? They’re to die for!!

Xan West – Eight Kinky Nights

My full review will be up soon!

George M. Johnson – All Boys Aren’t Blue

I received an audio listening copy from Libro.fm in exchange for my honest review.

It feels impossible to rate and review a memoir like this, and very honestly, I wouldn’t even know where to start. Suffice it to say this audiobook spoke to me so much that I ended up purchasing a physical copy halfway through so that I can reread it and put sticky tabs in it.

Something I think that makes this book very special is that as a white queer person, I’ve obviously had a very different experience from the author. But this is one of those books that shows you that there’s also always so much you have in common with people, there’s always so much more common ground than you might think at first. So this book both taught me a lot about other people’s life experiences, as well as helped me understand myself better.

One note is that I didn’t understand why the author’s trans cousin needed to be deadnamed and misgendered in the text. That seemed unnecessary to me and made the book less safe for trans readers.

CWs: racism, incest/sexual assault, abuse, homophobia, violence, misgendering and deadnaming of a trans woman

Leah Johnson – You Should See Me In a Crown

This book arrived yesterday, and I finished my previous read and then dove right in. I read it while I was feeling very anxious, and it helped a lot. This is such a delightful read, and Liz was an amazing main character. While the book has its heavier aspects, overall it was a really fun, and often funny, read, and I loved the romance.

CWs: public outing, past death of a parent, illness of a sibling, hospital, panic attacks, queerphobia, racism, bullying, gaslighting

Anna Birch – I Kissed Alice

Okay, but this is already one of my favourite f/f romances ever. Halfway through this book, I preordered a physical edition, because I was just loving it that much.

This book is about two girls who share a best friend but HATE each other, but they’re also best online friends (who are crushing on each other) who work on a webcomic/fanfic of Alice in Wonderland together, and they don’t know each other’s real identities.

And the writing??? Is amazing?????? Honestly, this was so well written, and I actually loved how messy the relationships between these girls were. Because that’s really just how a lot of teenage friendships work.

To clarify, because you might not know this about me: I’m a HUGE Alice in Wonderland fan (as in, I own around 40 different copies), and this book is speaking to my autistic “gets obsessed with certain fandoms” soul. In that sense, it reminded me of a sapphic version of Fangirl or Eliza and Her Monsters. And we all know sapphic means superior.

Rebecca Barrow – This Is What It Feels Like

It’s books like this that cure my anxiety. I keep asking myself why I didn’t pick it up sooner, because it’s been on my shelves for around a year, I think. But I also think there’s something valuable in picking up a book at the right time for you. I’m a massive mood reader, so I just click with books more when I read them at the right time, and it makes them more meaningful to me.

I’m very much a sucker for slice-of-life contemporaries that focus on friendship and I loved the different perspectives and how the book deals with big topics, like becoming a teen parent or dealing with alcoholism, without making them heavy. While I mostly loved the focus on friendship, I also loved both of the romances in this book, one of which is an amazing sapphic romance.

This book reminded me a little of The Resolutions – it’s a similar type of book, and I’ll be on the look-out for more comparable titles.

Noelle Stevenson – The Fire Never Goes Out

I really loved what this was. But at the same time, I’m a little sad about what it wasn’t. Because while this was still really amazing, I did miss context at times, and I wish things were discussed a little more in depth. I feel like it was only really possible to understand this memoir if you’ve followed Noelle Stevenson for a while.

Jacqueline Woodson – Red at the Bone

I didn’t review this but it was a really good book.

Lauren James – The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker

What did I just read? I mean that in a really good way, but… what? I need a moment to collect myself, because this was a wild ride!

Things I loved:
– morally grey MC
– queer pining (like, so much pining!!!)
– found family of ghosts
– ghost baby!
– ghost pet FOX!
– so many ghosts!!

Lauren James is so amazing at writing the most twisty, intriguing books that keep you on the edge of your seat. It was so much fun trying to figure everything out, and there’s always this weird sense of pride if you figure out a certain twist before it’s revealed (I’m bad at that, okay??). Let’s just say there were some really fun twists here. I think it would be best to dive into this book without knowing too much about it.

I have a really hard time reviewing this because for me, how much I enjoyed this book is directly related to if there will be a sequel. Because this book needs one! There are so many loose ends, and I feel like the book ended quite abruptly. I just wanted to find out so much more! I’m just gonna assume there will be a sequel that just hasn’t been announced yet!

UPDATE: I was told by the author and the publisher that the initial eARC I read missed the last 20% of the book! So that explains why the “ending” felt so sudden to me, and I thought I’d write a little update so my review reflects the full novel I read. Of course I couldn’t pace myself and I dove right back into this book when I found out there was more! Honestly, this ending was so satisfying, and there were even more twists and turns – ones that I really did not see coming. I think this is probably a standalone as the ending it very well-rounded! I already can’t wait to reread the full novel once it’s released!

Rep: pansexual MC, Black gay MC, questioning bisexual MC, Brown hijabi side character

CWs: death, murder, gore, poisoning, abuse by a family member, past death of parents

Ciara Smyth – The Falling In Love Montage

This absolutely saved my life during a horrible migraine attack

Adriana Herrera – Finding Joy

This might not be my favourite Adriana Herrera book, but that’s only because American Dreamer is THAT good. This is a very close second though.

This was such an intense and hopeful romance, and I absolutely adored the setting. Absolute gem of a novel. And the fooooood!!

Kelly Quindlen – Late to the Party

Wow, this took me back. It really transported me back to how painfully uncomfortable it was to be a teenager, and how messy teenage friendships can be, and I almost felt like this book described my life at that age 1:1.

It was such an intensely relatable experience to grow with and without your friends and to not know who your people are and where you belong, and who you even are in the first place.

I loved how much this focused on friendship over romance, even though I did love the romance as well.

Becky Albertalli – Love, Creekwood

I’m just a sucker for epistolary books, and this was so cute!

How many books did you end up reading in June? What was your favourite read of the month?


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