living out my cottagecore dreams | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Queer book posts so far this pride month –

Others –

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • “Zero Sum Game”, “Null Set” and “Critical Point” all three books (yet) of the Cas Russel series by S. L. Huang
  • City of Strife by Claudie Arseneault (fantasy, all queer cast of characters)
  • Almost Home by Madisen Kuhn (poetry)
  • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  • Wilder Girls by Rory Power (queer girls, f/f relationship, horror)
  • The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase #1) by Rick Riordan (fantasy, mythology)

Added to TBR:

  • Most of the new books I want to read is from this post from @coolcurrybooks on tumblr on anti-heroines in sci-fi and fantasy books! It’s also what made me pick up Zero Sum Game!
  • Shattered minds by Laura Lam (sci-fi, thriller, anti-heroine)
  • A ruin of shadows by L. D. Lewis /fantasy, anti-heroine, short!)
  • Ship of smoke and steel by Django Wexler (fantasy, anti-heroine, bi mc)
  • The library of the unwritten by A. J. Hackwith (fantasy, pan mc, about books, anti-heroine)
  • Of sorrow and such by Angela Slatter (fantasy, witch, anti-heroine)
  • God’s war by Kameron Hurley (sci-fi/fantasy)
  • Highfire by Eoin Colfer (fantasy, dragons): because I’ve never read any of Colfer’s adult work, just Artemis Fowl which I grew up with loving
  • Mask of shadows by Linsey Miller (fantasy, revenge-story, anti-hero/heroine bc genderfluid mc)

Three things on my mind:

  • I tried to participate in Pride Library 2020 and knew from the start it would porbably be more difficult to keep up throughout this month, but I got a couple posts out. I hope to continue to read more queer books throughout the summer and spread out more posts inspired by the good prompts that way.

  • Ten days I spent living out my cottagecore dreams, visiting my boyfriend and his parents, who have a very small farm. It was a blast; baking, making food from scratch with ingredients from their garden, seeing how they have this whole beer brewing system going on, their focus on being as ecofriendly as possible, bonfires so many days in a row, taking long walks with their husky dog, not to mention the happiness at seeing my bf after three months apart or something bc of covid-19. I never truly got to say goodbye to him because I had to instantly isolate as someone at high risk and then leave town as quickly as possible, and it truly bothered me more than I realized. Otherwise I’m also dealing with chronic illness symptoms and generally being tired to the bone, even if I was fortunate enough to get a break from it most of my time there.

  • Along that route, I’m already starting to plan out how to be most visibly bisexual as new physics students arrive for the fall semester, and I would love some input if you’ve got suggestions! There’s many reason why this is important to me; diversity and physics isn’t the most common combination yet and I want to participate the ways I can. But also I think many students, especially the nerdier ones like me, arrive at college/university with the wish of being the most themselves they can and I want to support and encourage that. I have an incredibly supportive bf (or I wouldn’t have dated him), but it makes it even more difficult to be out without making an effort. It also meant so much to me to see the older student welcoming us with rainbow socks, and I want to pay it forward. And look what I found that could be a great first step, made by ProudScience on etsy!!
Pins by ProudScience on etsy

F/F Magical Book Recs | #PrideLibrary20

I’m joining in on some of the #pridelibrary20 prompts, hosted by The Library Looter, Michelle Likes Things and Anniek’s Library throughout June. Here’s a link to a summary of my posts from last year.

Today’s prompt is f/f relationships and I’ve tried to gather up some fav f/f romance books of the more magical realism or fantasy genre. Because I’ve been even more into the blend of cottagecore aesthetic, queer girls and magic lately. Ahh, the gay side of tiktok has got me with it’s #wlwcottagecore and my need to be more outside safely after this quarantine.

There’s also Queer Girls YA Book Recommendations #1 if you want more.

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

  • Horror magical realism with queer girls trying to uncover the mystery of the island the main character moves to as more and more girls are killed off. Definitely has enemies-to-lovers trope and folklore coming to life, with living in lighthouse, trying to save your loved ones before it’s too late and an actual cult.
  • Queer girls, including mc, and asexual character.

The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski

  • More straight-up fantasy, but definitely not straight.
  • The main charcter is an orphan that has magical abilities, something that belongs to the upper classes in the society she lives in. She’s low-key criminal with a fierce spirit that lands her in prison, where she meets a stranger ( ~ a traveller from distant lands who is not bound by conservative customs ~ ) that transforms her life, and also starts a slow-burn of a f/f romance.
  • This one scene of the mc trying to find the place she was supposed to meet up with a stranger, without knowing anything about this outside world, wandering around the woods is burned into my memory. As is her confusion as she’s brought along, breaking into abandoned buildings with no explanation. The inncocent, brave, awkward gay vibes is immaculate.

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

  • Witchy found-family type of young adult book
  • Contains fun, dramatic moments, a city of witches, covens arguing and lots of lesbians. Has more strong friendships than relationships. Meaning some f/f relationship, also some lesbian exes trying to get along and not always suceeding.

Similiar books on my TBR

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

  • All girls high school put under quarantine (ahh made last year, pre-corona), where they get infected and die one by one and described as more of a horror vibe and survival story following this queer friendgroup.

Magic for liars by Sarah Gailey

  • Urban fantasy/murder mystery standalone with bisexual love interest, a magical witchy school and lots of blood and violence and other questionable things. Also several f/f relationships.

Exciting Book Releases Summer 2020

Summer might not be the same, but the book releases are? Hopefully? I made a similiar post for Spring 2020, which cut off in April and is why May suddenly became considered summer by accident.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Release date: 5. May

Why I want to read it: I was impressed by the writing of Acevedo when I read ‘The Poet X’

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Release date: 5. May

Why I want to read it: I’m really interested in reading more young adult books with trans main character, tbh. And it seems to have been received so well by other book blogs!

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Release date: 5. May

Why I want to read it: I mean, that title. I’m promised sapphic pirates, so I’m on-board, even if it hasn’t been getting the best ratings so far.

This Coven Won’t Break by Isabel Sterling #2

My review of These witches don’t burn (book one)

Release date: 19. May

Why I want to read it: The first book in the series gave me all the queer witches it promised!

The State of Us by Shaun David Hutchinson

Release date: 2. June

Why I want to read it: I have a hit or miss record with Hutchinson’s books, but I really like him as an author. Also this gay book with the son of a democrat and son of a republican falling in love is being compared to the other gay president/royal book ‘Red, White and Royal Blue’ that I truly loved.

Loveless by Alice Oseman

Release date: 9. June

Why I want to read it: Oseman is one of my fav authors, I’ve read so many of her other books! And really excited to read what seems like a very personal book, with an asexual-aromantic main character. I’ve seen Oseman seemingly struggle while writing this book, and crossing my fingers it was worth it and turned out like she wanted it to.

Honorary Mention:

I wondered whether to mention Midnight Sun, the 5th long-awaited book in the Twilight series by Stepenie Meyer. ‘I’m never going to read this thing’ I thought, but then I remembered the big chance I’m going to meet one of my childhood friends this summer, where we both were sooo into Twilight growing up. And if so, I have to buy and bring with me this book, there’s no way to avoid it. We have to bash it together. For old times sake.

Also funfact; when the movies came out and also the non-readers of the friendgroup got their eyes up for it, everyone was very into one character, except me. ‘Like Edward was better than Jacob as a love interest in the books, I guess. Why does she even have to be with one of these guys?’, was kind of the vibe. But of course – I just really liked Kristen Stewart/Bella Swan the whole time, without realizing. And that’s on #bisexuality, with a major leaning towards girls.

Was These Books Five Stars? (Predictions Update)

I made a post in June with five star predictions. It started with me believing I would love “Never let me go” by Kazuo Ishiguro because a lot of people compared it to other books I’d loved, and then it being a let-down. And now I’ve finally read all the books!

Heartstopper vol. 1 by Alice Oseman: review! This graphic novel with m/m romance was so precious and I loved it as much as I’ve loved Radio Silence and I Was Born for This by Oseman. The second volume is also definitely a five/five stars. 5/5 stars!!

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson: review! The previous book, Truly Devious, was one of my favourites last year. It’s a good enough sequel, following the same type of mystery boarding-school vibe as the first one. You certainly get further in the story, especially about the old mystery at the school the main character is trying to solve. But it was also lacking the freshness and felt a bit repetitive. 4/5 stars!

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling: review! So many queer witches and a lovely YA mystery witchy book. But it wasn’t without its problems plotwise and not interesting enough to get above four/five stars. Still would recommend! I’m so happy it delivered! 4/5 stars!

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner: review! This post was a lot of fun until I had this single book left for months. After the second real try, I DNF’ed it. There’s just something about the writing that didn’t click with me, which is the one thing that makes it nearly impossible for me to care about a book. There was nothing luring me in. So I’m giving up on this, even though it has such good ratings and I can remember nothing from it already. not giving this a rating because I DNF’ed.

Fence vol. 1 by C. S. Pacat: review! I went into this expecting “The Foxhole Court” (by Nora Sakavic) vibes with the sport-focus and gay characters. But it definitely became the biggest let-down on this list, as this graphic novel just never developed its story enough. Far far below a full score. like 1/5, maybe 2/5 stars.

So this wasn’t a great result, but I really liked to do it and especially picking out the books I thought I would love and reading through reviews. Worst part was honestly having that one book left for months, ruining finishing this post. I would’ve just DNF’ed it on the first try if I did it again.

While I gave The Vanishing Stair and These Witches Don’t Burn 4/5 stars I see them as great successes along with Heartstopper.

Mermaid & Siren Book Recommendations

I’ve always loved the ocean and therefore also books about everything in it, but I feel the young adult mermaid books often falls into the trap of being too stuck to The Little Mermaid plot and tropes! There’s other ways to do mermaids folks!

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Full review! 3/5 stars. It was an enjoyable book with deadly sirens that had very The Little Mermaid retelling vibes and pirates that had a true Pirates of the Carribean vibe, thrown in with some royalty and princes as well. The main character is fierce and the book promises a killer and general darkness that it doesn’t quite deliver on. Halfway it turns more into slow-burn romance and trying to create a revolution which, funnily enough, was the predictable path. But if you like mermaids and/or pirates, this is definitely a book I would recommend!

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

A norse-inspired little mermaid retelling with f/f relationship, where the main character has to outsmart the God of Lies Loki. Relatively short as it’s just above 200 pages. Stunning cover art.

DNF’ed because I couldn’t like the writing, and that makes it incredibly difficult for me to get into any story.

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

Full review! 4/5 stars. Incredible writing! This is a dream of a fantasy book, the ultimate fairy-filled tale I wanted as a kid, with a main character who’s a brat, but a smart one, and both supportive and tired of his friends. It’s less of a magical school as it’s a magical military academy, hah. So underrated, with gay/bi boys and main character! Mermaids is one of the multiple magical creatures here, so much less focus on them than in the other books on this list.

Lies Beneath by Anna Greenwood Brown

DNF’ed after really giving it a couple good tries. I wanted to like this book. It has evil mermaids!! I mean it starts out with “I hadn’t killed anyone all winter, and I have to say I felt pretty good about that.” Definitely give it a try! And it’s written from a male mermaid … merman? which makes it interesting. It just wasn’t for me.

Wake (Watersong #1) by Amanda Hocking

I really want to reread this book. Because from what I remember it was; good mermaids. boring plot. And a very interesting dynamic between four girls, a trio plus a girl who don’t yet know she’s a mermaid. It’s like H20 book edition, but also the mermaids have evil tendencies?? But I remember it being so interesting and a guilty pleasure. I have to reread it.

Of Poseidon and The Syrena Legacy by Anna Banks

Full review of the first book! 3/5 stars. I’ve only read the second book in the series as well, and it’s pretty much the same and equally as good. It’s just summer vibes with all the mermaids you need. Stubborn and awkward teenagers that tries to figure things out, just in the “you might be a mermaid” format, mixed in with mermaid royalty and some politics. It also has a main character that is quite the fierce girl, and throws a couple punches. A very character driven novel, with a good friendgroup.

Other mermaids book on my TBR (for another time):

Come to the Rocks by Christin Haws

A short story with 66 pages! I know little of it except it has f/f romance with a mermaid, and that’s truly all I need.

Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner

Another book with mermaid killers, which I really hope won’t let me down. I just hope it’s taken all the way, for once, without being worried about how ‘likeable’ that makes the mermaids. I’ve read it’s supposed to have a fierce female protagonist and a lesbian romance, so that sounds promising.

Do you have any mermaid or siren books to recommend? Preferably not the little mermaid retellings, haha.

Bi Protagonists #PrideLibrary19 🌈

The Pride Library 2019 Challenge is hosted by Library Looter, Anniek’s Library and Michelle Likes Things. Join in on it anytime or link your post in the comments so I see it! Also all reviews I’ve written will be linked.

Bisexuality seems to still be difficult to portray correctly in novels, it has such a stigma attached to it. In fiction as in real life, a bi person in a hetero relationship might seem straight and a bi person in a gay relationship might seem gay/lesbian. And then there’s the struggle of an author with a bi protagonist correctly portraying how the character is attracted to different genders, but that doesn’t mean they’re attracted to *everyone*. Jeez, let people have types.

As a bi person, I feel that we have privileges that gay and lesbians don’t in that we’re able to pass as straight for longer and possibility of finding love without coming out. At the same time I think it’s more confusing to discover your sexuality because it’s of that stigma attached to it. Hopefully books can help portray bisexuality more honestly and true!

Evelyn Hugo in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (full review)

Theodore Decker in The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Monty in The gentleman’s guide to vice and virtue by Mackenzi Lee (full review)

Magnus Bane in The bane chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson

Fire in Fire (Graceling #2) by Kristin Cashore

April in An absolutely remarkable thing by Hank Green (full review)

TBR

(I really hope I’ve gotten this right, please tell me straight away if I haven’t)

Queens of geek by Jen Wilde

The trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan

Far from you by Tess Sharpe

Of fire and stars by Audrey Coulthurst

Labyrinth lost by Zoraida Cordova

Let’s talk about love by Claire Kann

Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and if you liked them! Please link your post if you’re participating so I see it and recommend any LGBTQ books you’ve loved.

Queer Girls YA Book Recommendations #1

As a queer girl I’ve certainly read too few books where women love women (wlw). Complete reviews I’ve written are linked.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

  • Marin leaves her old life behind without telling anyone. She’s already chosen her college for fall, so she leaves early and stays at a run down motel until it opens. The book starts with Marin staying behind at the college dorm as everyone leaves for winter break. She’s anxiously awaiting the visit from her “old” friend Mabel and that her lives, which she’s managed to keep seperated until now, are going to clash.
  • The lesbian relationship was so cute in that they had history, both fucked up and now have no idea how to talk to each other. There’s this whole mystery about why Marin left her old life so abruptly, which it’s obvious Mabel is trying to figure out too. It slowly unfolds until it both doesn’t matter and you kind of understand it. It’s a weird feeling, but I adored it.
  • Snowed-in scenes like it’s an actual fanfic, where the couple just spends large parts of the book alone at the college

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

  • A SAD STORY, but also about being brave and sticking up for others
  • The main character is finding themselves as a lesbian, growing up in Montana
  • At one point in the story her family sends her to a religious conversion therapy camp – which I think you should be prepared for going into this book
  • Queer people bonding together and becoming friends
  • Has a movie adaption with the same name, which conveys some of the same messages, but not so in-depth and emotion as this book. For example there’s this huge betrayal that happes, wrecking Cameron Post’s life for a while, and in the movie she just seems generally depressed for a while because of her circumstances. Also the movie is worth it simply because Chlow Grace Moretz is the lead *hearteyes*.

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

  • Penn is 16 years old and struggling with her gender identity, especially with hanging around tougher boys that doesn’t leave her alone to figure it out. Definitely a lot of unwelcome questions and harassment about it.
  • Loves video games
  • She seems to go towards idenitifying as a butch lesbian and the parts where she’s figuring out her attraction to girls and going into her first relationship are so cute. The balance between the cute and ugly parts in this book is really special.
  • Dealing with family that doesn’t understand or accept non-hetero sexualities

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

  • It’s a lovely story of a girl who works with decorating movie sets falling in love with a mystery and then the girl underneath it. 
  • Entertaining, sweet and filled with special moments

Which queer books (especially with queer girls) have you read?