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review 2020-06-15 02:26
Out Now: Queer We Go Again!
Out Now: Queer We Go Again! - Eliot Schrefer,Kate Hart,Saundra Mitchell,Katherine Locke,Will Kostakis,Mark Oshiro,Jessica Verdi,Caleb Roehrig,Meredith Russo,Tara Sim,Julian Winters,Candice Montgomery,Tanya Boteju,C.B. Lee,Kosoko Jackson,Hilary Monahan,Fox Benwell

Out Now: Queer We Go Again! is a follow-up anthology to All Out featuring 17 new stories by queer YA authors about queer characters. There was a good mix of fantasy and contemporary stories in there.


Like most anthologies, it was a mix of stories that I really liked, ones I thought were okay, and ones I didn't like. Overall, more than half of the stories were 3 stars or more from me, and the average rating for all the stories was a little over 3 stars.


My particular favorites were:


Lumber Me Mine by CB Lee - It was a cute romance between the girls who met in their woodshop class. The love interest was ace, which was nice. I wouldn't have minded more of this.


Victory Lap by Julian Winters - This was more focused on the father/son relationship, although there was a minor cute romance for the son. But it was the father/son relationship that was wonderful. The son found out that his dad figured out he was queer and had been researching how to be properly accepting and had joined groups and everything. It was so sweet.


A Road of One's Own by Kate Hart - A group of girls go on a road trip and one of the them calls the group the GROSS Club after Calvin and Hobbes, but has it stand for Get Rid Of Sexist guyS. That made me smile, as did the rest of the story. There was a cute romance between two of the girls.


Starcrossed in DC by Jessica Verdi - The daughter of the president finds herself in a difficult position when she suddenly finds out her dad is supporting an anti-LGBTQ+ bill when she herself is bisexual, although only her best friend and the girl she likes know it. The story focuses on her struggle on what to do. With a little focus on her relationship with her crush.


One Spell Too Many by Tara Sim - The main character works in a bakery where you can order baked goods with spells in them. She gets in a bit of trouble when she agrees to help a friend by baking her a cupcake with a love spell, but gets it mixed up with another classmate's order. It's a cute story.

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review 2020-06-08 09:06
The Book of Queer Prophets
The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion - Ruth Hunt

[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

An interesting, if sometimes uneven collection (like every collection in general, I’d say) of essays from queer people regarding religion and faith, acceptance of LGBTQ+, and how organised religions and individuals alike have both progressed and still need to progress in that regard.

Many of these essays resonated with me, not because I am a believer, but precisely because I’m not anymore: I was raised a Catholic, but could never reconcile religion with all the intolerance (whether snide and discreet or absolutely blatant) it tends to teach. There was always, for me, a clear contradiction between “Jesus is love” and “…but only for people who correspond to the official credo (aka usual cisgender, heterosexual, and if they’re white, it’s even better). Not that these essays have given me renewed faith in any belief whatsoever, but it was good to read about how other people lived this, whether they retained or found their faith again, and especially when it comes to ministers (several of the writers in this collection are or were ordained). While there’s a depressing side to it, considering there’s still a lot of work to be done, there’s also much hope in here for society to change in the future.

I do wish there had been more input, though, from people coming from other faiths than the Abrahamic religions. The book’s synopsis does mention “Is it possible to believe in God and be gay?”, so I don’t know if that was to be read as “strictly God in its Islamic or Judeo-Christian acception” or not. I’d still have been interested in additional perspectives. What about Hinduism, Shinto, Wicca? Do monotheistic religions really have a monopoly on intolerance when it comes to LGBTQ+?


Conclusion: 3.5 stars

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review 2020-04-19 01:47
Hanged Man (Tarot Sequence #2)
The Hanged Man - K.D. Edwards

This was such a fun sequel to Last Sun! It had all the fun world-building and magic as the first book, plenty of character development and quiet beats to further flesh out both the story and characters, and still managed to pack in lots of action. The stakes are even higher in this book than the first and we get to learn a lot more about the Arcana, and boy howdy are they cool. The Hanged Man himself was such a deliciously creepy and imaginative villain. I really hope we get another book in this series - while this book had a strong ending it left me wanting to see what comes next for our heroes.

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review 2020-03-29 06:35
Blackfish City
Blackfish City: A Novel - Sam J. Miller

This book is an interesting tapestry of a story. The city takes center stage early on, becoming a central focus for both the storytelling and the feel of the book. Usually I disengage when a book spends a lot of time on setting, but this time it worked for me. I think the reason this worked for me was that the world-building was less concerned with getting all the details perfect and more focused on evoking a mood and tone. And that mood? Very cyberpunky. The push and pull between humanity and technology, and the haves and have nots, was central to the world and the feel. The story, less so.


About the story. Weirdly the main plot landed with mixed results for me. Written in alternating POVs you get to see the city through different lenses. Eventually each individual storyline weaves together into a greater whole, and once that form began to emerge my enthusiasm waned somewhat. This is one of those reads where I liked the set-up more than the conclusion. The core story the plot ends up telling is one of family and blood, and with so much of the tension earlier in the book being found in other avenues I was a bit disappointed it went the direction it did. (I don't want to get into spoilers.) That said, I did like at least half of the characters and the world they walked through enough to buy in. The writing style also kept me turning pages even when I wasn't always engaged with a specific plot thread or character.


This one was a bit of a mixed bag, but in the end it came down to feel for me. It's been awhile since I read a book that pulled me into a setting quite the way this one did. If you're wanting something urban fantasy adjacent, chock full of an orcamancer kicking ass, you will disappointed. If you're looking for something set in a bleak decaying future, with a diverse cast of broken characters, and a slow build, this might be up your alley. I'm curious to see how this author grows in the future and I'm onboard for new adventures.

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review 2020-02-21 01:07
Witchmark: Kingston Cycle #1
Witchmark (The Kingston Cycle #1) - C. L. Polk

Do you like gaslamp/steampunk fiction? Do you like old fashioned murder mysteries? Are you in the mood for something light, frothy, and hopeful? Would the icing on the cake be if there was romance, and that romance was gay? Look no further, this is your new favorite book!


Slight problem for me, I don't like any of those things at all except the gay part. (At least I'm honest.) I would never have read this if not for it being a book club pick - the bike on the cover alone let me know this likely wasn't going to be my bag. (There is a bike chase! Are you excited?) Many people I whose opinions I trust loved this book, and I can see why. Alas, it's not my thing. (And I really hated Mile's sister, so the fact that the next book follows her POV dooms any chance of my continuing the series.) I *do* give this book points for being well crafted and readable, saying some interesting things about PTSD and war, and having a romance I cared about.

I think a lot of people will love this book, and if it sounds up your alley I encourage you to snap it up as I doubt it will disappoint. If you're like me and do not like historical fiction or murder mysteries it will likely not be, ahem, your cup of tea.

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