LGBTQ+ Books

Mackenzi Lee “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” [1]

29283884I waited for “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” by Mackenzi Lee (ISBN 0062382802; 513p.; Goodreads) even before it was released. Which is a mighty rare thing for a first book (or a stand alone, we’ll see), and not, say, second or third in the series. Luckily, I didn’t get disappointed either!

Henry Montague is a fine man, an heir to a fairly great estate, and a son of great disappointment to his father. He was kicked out of school for, allegedly, starting a fight. He dallies with anyone on two legs, men, and women. He’s rarely ever sober, and shows little to no interest in running the estate! His father’s last hope is a voyage across Europe on which he sends Henry out, together with a very strict guardian, his sister, and his best friend. With whom Henry is secretly in love with…

The tour starts out pretty boring at first. Their guardian keeps his word, and makes sure everyone’s in line. Henry can’t go party, he’s not allowed to drink, and he’s going crazy. Yet he’ll surely miss these simple days once adventures come uninvited. Highway men, pirates… And all due to a damned box he pocketed!

The story was very fun, and often – very funny. It was easy to read, and I’m real happy about everything in it. So I’ll give it 5 out of 5, and won’t mind a sequel if such comes to be.

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Occult, Friday: Diversity, Funny Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Diversity: Censoring

[1]; [2]

I speak of V.E. Schwab‘s Shades of Magic often, and with pleasure, for they’re truly among my very top favorite books of all times. But not all the reasons to talk about it are good.

Russian editions of Shades of Magic were censored. Queer part of the plot was redacted out, without author’s permission or knowledge. Which leads author to consider canceling the whole contract.

I don’t much follow the love lines in stories, for they’re mostly the same regurgitated things. Not in this case. Here there was no “no, you have betrayed me, I never want to see you again!” thing. Instead two adults sat down, spoke it out, considered it, and all things weighted – decided where to go on from there. The only thing that they could’ve had any issue with is of course the fact, that both these characters were men.

The story is not about queers. The story is not about homosexual love. The story is not even about love. It’s about magic, human nature, wishes, adventures, and so on. So in a world full of magic, rising dead, and portals to other worlds – here, apparently, can be no gays.

“Oh, that’d be too much!” – Said a man on his unicorn.

For next Friday I have you a very nice queer-plot book thus. Because love is love.

Categories: Fantasy Books, Friday: Diversity, High Fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Gabby Rivera – Juliet Takes a Breath

28648863Even the best of the books sometimes take forever to be read. “Juliet Takes a Breath” by Gabby Rivera (ASIN B01ATCAZHQ; 276p.; Goodreads) is one of those books. It has a mighty important topic, so you can’t exactly skim through it. But then, as contemporary, it also has a very limited variety of characters, their personalities, so I accidentally overgeneralized that too. Anyway, let’s get into it!

Juliet is a Puerto Rican from Bronx. After reading an empowering book by a leading feminist voice, she decided to try her luck in learning more about life as a woman, her history as a woman, her battle as one too. But by getting her internship to go help this said author, her new hero, Juliet soon finds herself in a whole lot deeper waters than she ever thought she’d be in. For one, when if not now to come out to her parents as a lesbian? If they react badly, she can just get on the plane, and be in Portland for her studies in a few hours. And, of course, that’s exactly what happens…

With aching heart Juliet detaches herself from her Bronx life, from life in a big close family, and plunges into the world of open-mindedness, and whole different kind of judgement. It’s fine to be what you are. It’s not fine at all to now know what you are. It’s not okay to be ignorant. Thus another quest begins, one of finding identity in race, gender, and sexuality.

Here’s a real great thing about this book: it touches several topics, and I’ve not yet found anyone who took same things from it as I did. Some people concentrated their attention to the family relation, the “it’s just a phase” point. Others wondered on why not a single straight person seemed to understand that love is love. And there’s many more. So I give this book a 5 out of 5, well deserved. And, guys, at least read the first chapter to not be those jerks. Arguments men make against homosexuals sound at the very least ridiculous when such guys do absolutely exist. (I’ll go as far as I say that homophobes seem to be afraid of other men treating them the way they treat they treat women)

Categories: 5-5, Books, F/F Literature, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lynn Flewelling – Shadows Return [4]

2065091The tradition continues with Nightrunner series. Every second book is far better than the previous one. So while I didn’t much like the fae realms, I did love all that happened in “Shadows Return” by Lynn Flewelling (Nightrunner 4; ISBN 0553590081; 522p.; Goodreads). It had a good pace, and a great, alchemy filled story.

Seregil and Alec return to Rhimenee, hoping to create a new runner persona, since their previous alter ego had to die. Even the most clueless nobles of the city might have otherwise noticed the pattern: Cat returns when Lord Seregil returns! Odd! Yet their fate had other plans for them. Remember that prophecy by oracle? Time to put it back in motion. Seregil and Alec end up in slavers hands, and are taken to enemy lands, where fae blood, especially the kind Alec has in his veins, is highly valued. Thus, they are separated, and sold…

Seregil, away from Alec, ends up at the mercy of his former lover, the man who betrayed him, the man who had him exiled. The only joy Seregil now has is the bittersweet knowledge: he is a slave too, if gilded.

The story was really pretty great, reminded me of Anne Rice’s “Claiming Beauty” trilogy, and C.S. Pacat “Captive Prince” too. I’ll give it a firm 4 out of 5, and hope it continues with these great topics!

Categories: 4-5, Books, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

K.J. Charles – A Gentleman’s Position [3]

25893424I somehow didn’t realize third book of Society of Gentlemen by K.J. Charles is out. Something in my brain thought it’s to yet happen. But I remedied myself quickly, after a friend corrected me, and got on with finishing the trilogy with “A Gentleman’s Position” (Society of Gentlemen 3; ISBN 1101886072; 246p.; Goodreads). And I can say that this one is my favorite one. With slight Kuroshitsuji vibe of resourceful butler, here – valet…

David Cyprian, Lord Richard Vane’s valet, goes out of his way, and beyond, to keep his master’s comfort. It is why, after all, he’s the very best, and most sought after valet. It is his pride, and joy to serve such a great man as Lord Richard, so when the need comes for him to blackmail, bribe, and burglar – the man takes it as his duty, no less. After all, he’s not a gentleman himself, and, truth be told, has a thing or two he could live with staying hidden from his personal life, and the past. The only little problem is that he is in love with his master. And there’s nothing to be done about it.

Richard Vane is a powerful man, with strong morals, and great mind. Made even better by his resourceful, irreplaceable valet, he tackles even the worst of situations, such as a threat hanging above the head of his beloved friends. Someone wants to expose them, and Richard is just not having it. Especially not when he sees nothing wrong with two men in love. After all, he himself harbors less pure thoughts about his valet too…

While a little slow with action, this was a great book, made so by Cyprian’s character. He’s clever, and resourceful, something I keep mentioning in my review a lot, and I think, in some other book, he would’ve made a great villain. 4 out of 5, very firm!

Categories: 4-5, Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Diversity: People of Color and LGBTQ+

tumblr_ornp4fK76l1tv4ujro1_540Maybe you’ve already seen this flag of equality? One that has added brown, and black stripes to it? No, it’s not to make it look cooler, although it does, yes. It’s to remind people that equality takes us all in, and is not selective of who deserves to speak, be heard, and have basic human rights.

One of such less heard voice is that of queer women of color. Thus I was mighty happy when Hannah from P.S. I love that Book started talking about Gabby Rivera and her “Juliet takes a breath“.

The book is told by Juliet herself. She’s Puerto Rican, and gay. In love, and dating a woman, planning at least the very near future with her. But for that future to have any base, one has to fix the present first. Like, come out to her parents: it resulted in her mother denying it all, claiming it must be a phase, that she knows better, and then outright refusing to speak with her daughter, or even say goodbye when she left for Portland. There, Juliet started working with one famous equal rights activist, and a published author, who insisted on her first getting to know the place, and sync with the city. Juliet’s head spins from new words, pronouns, epithets, and other things that she finds in this seemingly very liberal, and open-minded place.

I already started reading it, so I might be able to finish it until Friday. It’s my nightly-read, so it goes slower than the day books. In the meantime, I suggest you watch Hannah’s video review on this book!

Categories: F/F Literature, Friday: Diversity, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

N.K. Jemisin – The Fifth Season [1]

fifthseasonI took this book for all the wrong reasons, yet loved it to bits never the less. “The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin (The Broken Earth 1; ISBN 0316229296; 468p.; Goodreads) is a colossal fantasy book, falling under the general genre of sci-fi too. The world is nothing like I ever read before, and the threat to it is even more so. There’s just nothing I can compare it to. And I promise, it feels like pure high-fantasy, so if you don’t like sci-fi, don’t even think of it as of such.

Father Earth is angry with all those crawling little things at the top. No one is sure why, but the anger is constantly there, on ever shifting, trembling, constant seismic activities undergoing surface. Any quake can start a new Season, and humans can only pray they have enough to outlast it, until sun comes out the ash-filled skies, lava cools, and volcanoes choke their last. It is because of this constant threat that people hate, and fear the breed of people called Orogenes. For even a babe in a cradle can quench a tremor, tapping into it as easily, as it breathes. And just as well, that babe can grow, get angry, and set off something that’ll kill them all. And that’s not the only odd race of beings here.

Damaya was one of the orogenes given away to Guardians, assassins who can turn their power against them, if need be, and thus, by humans, considered the lesser evil, even if they aren’t. But Damaya trained, learned, and not being of seemingly any special skill, was put to pair with a ten-ringer Alabaster. Her chaotic accidental power, born out of no where, to his well bred potential. It’s just that they don’t like each other much, and yet not only are they required to try for a baby, but get on with an assignment too. One that changed their lives forever, and the rest of the world’s too.

This was a superb book I cannot even begin describing. If I thought that Final Empire / Mistborn was great, then this is more. The characters are so very interesting, with their own personalities, that don’t just fill in for others. There’s easy acceptance of trans character being who they are, and a little tiny love triangle where Damaya and Alebaster fell for the same guy. But it went well, that guy liked them both anyway. There’s beings that walk through stone like it’s water, and mountains, well, obelisks, that follow people around, inching with their colossal size towards them. It’s all so very amazing. 5 out of 5, really.

Categories: 5-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

K.J. Charles – A Seditious Affair [2]

25241403When I picked up second K.J. Charles book in Society of Gentlemen trilogy, “A Seditious Affaird” (Society of Gentlemen 2; ISBN 1101886064; 251p.; Goodreads), I thought I’ll continue my adventures with Harry and Julian. But that was not the case. We get to see what their friends were up to in the meantime.

Silas Mason, much like Harry himself is a Radical. He prints and spreads books, and other literature of revolution. Books, even the worst of their kind, are favorable to him over people, even the best of the kind. He breathes this, he lives this, this vision of England where he and a gentleman would be respected, and treated the same. And to let the steam off in the meantime, he has his Tory lover for Wednesdays, with his masochistic needs fitting Silas want for any kind of satisfaction against the gentry.

Dominic Frey is a well-born gentleman working for the law. Every Wednesday he awaits for Silas, trying to push all the bad thoughts away. What if his colleagues catch on? What if they find his Radical lover? Would he give up all he has to save the man he’s secretly nurturing feelings for? Or would he see him hang for those vile ideas? One of these nights his worst nightmare comes true, and they end up running for their lives, after which there’s nothing more to do, but share each other’s visions. They need to figure where they stand, before they end up on the gallows. One has to convince the other.

The book felt like a mix of A Charm of Magpies, and previous Society of Gentlemen book, with those little moments of peace at the richer man’s house, and escaping with their lives. I’ll give this one another 4 out of 5, it’s a very easy read!

Categories: 4-5, Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

K. J. Charles – A Fashionable Indulgence [1]

23834716I’m a fan of K.J. Charles, and her easy-to-read, suspension-adventure filled books. So after a short recommendation, and a long wait, I went ahead and grabbed “A Fashionable Indulgence” (Society of Gentlemen 1; ISBN 1101886021; 264p.; Goodreads). And while this was not as great as A Charm of Magpies, it didn’t disappoint either.

Harry Vane is a Radical in Regency England. He fights for reforms, democracy, and one law for all. Radical bread in general is not sweet, yet when his grandfather, who decided he needs an heir, plucks him off the streets, and drops him into Julian’s lap, in attempt to make him a true gentleman – he’s about to choke on it. If Harry wants his inheritance, he’ll have to learn to hide his views, and play along. It’s just that, Julian, unlike his grandfather, doesn’t look all that appalled by it…

Already difficult Harry’s life turns upside down when his friend gets murdered the night he wore Harry’s coat. The man was not robbed, even thou he had the wallet Harry gave him. Thus both him and Julian come to conclusions – someone tried to kill Harry, and might still be out to get him. Did someone in Society of Gentlemen found out Harry’s true nature?

This was a pretty good detective, something I rarely say. I didn’t expect the things that happened, and I enjoyed the dandy side of this society more than I expected too. I still missed the witchcraft, so 4 out of 5 it is. Not because it lacked action without magic, but because I can’t help but compare the two trilogies. The cover is great tho, isn’t it?

Categories: 4-5, Books, Historical Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lynn Flewellin – Traitor’s Moon [3]

74273The tradition of slow pace, and plot only gaining something at near end continues with third book in Nighrunner series by Lynn Flewellin, “Traitor’s Moon” (Nightrunner 3; ISBN 0553577255; 540p.; Goodreads). But I got used to this by the middle of second book. Once you make a connection with characters, plot, pace of it, becomes secondary.

With war at the gate, Skala’s greatest hope lies with the Aurenan ports, and possibly their soldiers. The dying queen thus gives final orders. She names an heir, her oldest daughter, and sends the younger one to Aurenan for negotiation. The soon-to-be queen is opposing it already, but once princess Klia is gone – all things are set to motion, not to be stopped. At least, not with someone like Seregil at her side. For this need to negotiate opened the door home for him. And so, with anxious heart, he and Alec make their journey to the lands of legend. Yet all that doesn’t mean Phoria won’t try to sabotage the mission…

Aurenan is full of pulsing magic, apparitions, ghosts, spirits, secrets, and dragons who deem it fit to chew on you, if you’re worthy the honor. The only true nuisance there are the fae themselves. They’re in no hurry with their long lives, and honor is law, yet everyone schemes for the good of their clan, because that, in a sense, is honorable too. Sorry, Seregil, but your people are the worst.

Well, I’m happy the illusion of some magical Lord of the Rings elven forest was broken. There’s great things in this book, but really, I came to dislike the fae a great deal. I can’t seem to get into Seregil and Alec being a pair either, their relationship is so odd, and in a sense it’s amazing how much they seem to simply just be friends, but then… I don’t know. But don’t let me digress, 4 out of 5 for this baby, and I will, absolutely, continue with the series.

Categories: 4-5, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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