Book Review: The Other Mother – Jen Brister

When Jen falls in love with Chloe they have a great life and eventually decide that having a small person was something they wanted to do. As her wife goes through the process of IVF and pregnancy Jen finds herself as ‘The Other Mother’. There’s also the small matter that Chloe became pregnant with twins, it’s a lot for anyone to handle.

I have to say, I’m not a parent to an actual human child, I currently only have fur babies in my life so I can’t be the judge on how realistic this is but I found it to be a book that shares a lot. Jen is completely honest about her experiences, about how tough she found it at times and how boring looking after kids can be.

I found myself laughing so much while reading this book and now I’m desperate to see Jen perform as a comedian. It just feels incredibly real but also she’s not afraid to laugh at herself, her thoughts and her actions. This isn’t a book telling you how to raise a child or being the perfect parent.

Jen is also respectful of the privacy of her children. Her sons are referred to throughout the book as Twin 1 and Twin 2 and while she shares stories about her life with Chloe raising them, we don’t know their names. It’s clear that Jen wants to protect the identity of her boys and who can blame her? This book is about her experience of being ‘The Other Mother’ it’s not a biography of her children. I respect that.

Also, I can highly recommend the audiobook which is how I absorbed it and I really couldn’t stop listening. Although a note to anyone who does get the audiobook, be ready to laugh out loud at various points and look a bit nuts.

I gave this book 5 stars and have been recommending it to a lot of people recently. It’s funny but also gives a real look at what it’s like to be a non-biological parent in 2019.

Book Review: Her Royal Highness – Rachel Hawkins

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

I’ve been on a bit of a royalty kick this year with my reads starting with Rachel Hawkins first novel in this series Royals (now known as Prince Charming) and one of my favourites of the year Red White and Royal Blue. So I pre-ordered this as soon as I heard it was coming out and get ready to fall in love with this royal family all over again.

A female female hate to love romance about a princess and a boarding school, umm where have you been! I was just a little bit hyped up about reading this one and it definitely lived up to it.

While we first met Flora in Prince Charming as the spoilt sister of the future King of Scotland this is where we really get to know her but she’s not our main girl. Millie is an american in Scotland learning the ropes and trying to deal with the Princess, who does not want to be there.

This is absolutely adorable and it was good to see more depth to characters from the previous book, although you will understand this novel if you haven’t read Prince Charming. Hawkins has a talent for making her characters very real and complex.

Also it’s great to see some more bisexuality rep where the plot is not coming out as bisexual – more of this please! I’m hoping this is something we start seeing more in all fiction, not just YA.

Also, no spoilers but the ending – THE ENDING. My heart couldn’t cope.

I adored this book and gave it 5 stars – this is a binge read and I cannot recommend it enough. I will definitely be keeping an eye on Rachel Hawkins and checking out some of her other books.

Book Review – Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

Are you ready for one of your favourite books of the year? You might have seen this book all over social media and rightfully so. I heard about this earlier in the year and so I pre-ordered it and then it went to sold out on the day of release, my local bookshop was also meant to have it on order (I covered my bases) and it had run into issues with the publisher. I waited 2 agonising weeks before I finally got it in my hands. It was SO worth it.

Our protagonist is Alex, the first son of the United States after his mother becomes president he meets all kinds of people along with his sister June and their best friend Nora. One of those is Prince Henry of Wales and the two instantly hate each other. So when they both cause a scandal at a royal wedding it’s time for damage control, but no one intends for it to become more.

To me, and a lot of other people on the internet, this book is perfection and as it’s a debut I can’t believe how well written it is. I fell in love with Alex and Henry equally as an enemies to friends to lovers situation unfolds. They really came alive to me as did the other characters. I adored all of the other characters too June and Nora were amazing and the book has so much representation I could write a whole post on just that.

It’s also told in a mix of Alex’s perspective and emails between the two which I absolutely loved and adds to the humor and romance of the two. These are two guys trying to work out their feelings and falling in love. They make mistakes, they try and navigate whether they can make it work with such public lives – all in all they just feel like real people.

It is worth noting that this is very much a New Adult novel meaning, yes, there are sex scenes and they are excellent. The author doesn’t shy away from the fact that two young people in love will have sex *shocker*. But it’s definitely done in a natural way, there’s no scandal about sex and it happens when it happens. It was quite refreshing to read about characters having a sex life not just ‘and then we went to the bedroom..’ because sex actually happens.

What makes this book so worthy of all the praise it is getting is that this is a genuine love story that many of us would love to see in the world. The sons of two of the most powerful families in the world falling in love? I’d love to see that and maybe one day we will see more LGBT representation in powerful positions. My heart melted for these characters and I loved getting to know their lives, their friends and you can bet I carried on thinking about this book long after I finished it.

Is there any other rating I could have given this book other than 5 stars? I’ve been recommending this book to everyone I think would enjoy it. It’s a truly wonderful novel and definitely a contender for my favourite book of the year.

Book Review_ Heartstopper Vol 1 - Alice Oseman

Book Review: Heartstopper Volume 1 – Alice Oseman

Are you ready for the cutest story you’re going to read this year? I’m pretty sure this will be it. Alice Oseman has knocked it out of the park with this graphic novel. I read it in less than an hour and then immediately ordered the second volume… I think you can guess this will be a good review.

This follows Charlie, openly gay and prone to over thinking and the only out guy at school. While he’s doing better than he was and has a sort-of boyfriend his world is going to be turned upside down when he meets Nick. As the two boys develop a friendship, Charlie begins to fall for Nick – can he find love or is he looking in the wrong place?

While reading I couldn’t help but feel that this was so wholesome. There isn’t scandal or anything of the sort, it is simply the story of a friendship, kindness and love. That in itself is why I loved it so much, there is complexity in how Charlie feels but it has an overwhelming simplicity. It is about love, and not just one kind of love, both friendship and a romantic love are present.

It is incredible that this started as a Kickstarter project before being published. The thought that this story could have not been published (it was previously posted online by Oseman herself). Now we’re going to be getting volumes 2, 3 and 4 and I am LIVING for it.

You might have guessed that I gave this 5 stars. I absolutely loved it and if you need something to give you a lift, this is most certainly it. I can also recommend Oseman’s novel Radio Silence, a brilliant YA novel that has been gaining fame in the US recently. I still need to read her other books too but Alice Oseman is definitely one to watch.

Book Review: A Quick & Easy Guide To Queer & Trans Identities – Mady G & J.R. Zuckerberg

We live in an incredibly diverse world, one that should be celebrated. That said, to celebrate it we must first understand the people in it. The LGBTQ+ community are, in my experience, wonderful people but often people don’t know or understand much past the L (Lesbian) and G (Gay) parts of the spectrum. That’s where this graphic novel comes in.

When searching through Netgalley, I came across this graphic novel and was curious as to how educational it would be. It covers such a wide spectrum to help people understand the way that people identify. Importantly, this also covers the difference between sexuality and gender – something many get confused.

I’ll admit, when I was younger I didn’t know much about Transgender people and the variations of gender before I was 18. It wasn’t something that myself or anyone close to me had gone through. Of course, I understood about identifying as Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual but beyond that, I had a lot to learn.

This is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to learn more about complicated topics without being bogged down in history and politics. While those things are incredibly important, they can seem very overwhelming. This is a good place to start and is easy to digest for a beginner.

I gave this a huge 5 stars. This is a really accessible graphic novel that could educate a lot of people. The fact that this is a little different and has fantastic art style adds to the experience of reading. Being taught about gender and sexuality by snails? Why not. Honestly, why not? This would be a great gift for someone who wants to learn more but doesn’t know where to start.

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to read this in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Pride Pledge

My Pride Pledge 2018

Hello, my lovely, lovely readers!

Now, I’m a big supporter of Pride as you know and recently I wrote my Pride Flag Book Tag and as much as I enjoyed it I realised something. While I was scanning my shelves and my Goodreads I was disappointed in the lack of novels that featured an open LGBTQ protagonist. There were some with those who hadn’t come out or side characters but that was it.

I completely understand and enjoy reading coming out novels but I wanted to read a few novels where it’s not the main point of the story. Where a character simply is LGBT and that’s not a huge thing.  So, this year I pledge to read more LGBT books, fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels.

I’ve read a lot of non-fiction about Trans women, a few of the most popular novels with an LGBT main character such as Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, etc but I’m not stopping there!

So, I’m trying to change that, I’ve ordered All Out and I’ll Give You the Sun. I have a long list of recommendations such as

  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Autoboyography by Kristina Lauren
  • Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
  • Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
  • Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
  • The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding
  • We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
  • Bingo Lover by Tee Franklin
  • Chord by Chelsea M Cameron
  • Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt
  • Nevada by Imogen Binnie

While this is a decent sized list I, of course, want all of your recommendations as to what I should read! Have you got any favourites that aren’t on this list? Please do let me know in the comments below, add me on Goodreads  or follow me on Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Pride Flag Book Tag!

It’s June which means it’s Pride month, I obviously wasn’t going to miss a chance to post about Pride! One of my closest friends is part of the LGBTQ community, I wrote an open letter about them coming out here. So I celebrate pride and I celebrate hard for all the wonderful people I know! So this tag that I watched on Books with Chloe seemed perfect (original creator Common Spence)! As always if you want to do this tag go ahead and make sure you let me know! So here we go!

1. Red (Life) – A book with a spirited protagonist totally proud of who they are. Someone who gives you LIFE

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I went slightly off here by choosing a non-fiction book. I also realised I need to read a lot more novels with LGBTQ protagonists. I adore Melanie Murphey and her book talks openly about her life as a Bisexual woman (and even has merch with the bisexual flag). She is confident, sure of herself and takes no prisoners. You can read my review here and catch her channel here.

2. Orange (Healing) – A book that made you, as the reader, find a deeper meaning or catharsis in your own life

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This is one of my favourite books of all time. I read it at 17 and I think it was one of the first books I read with the protagonist having a lesbian experience. This novel sparked a love for looking at the treatment of women, which went on to take over my degree once I got to university. I started looking at myself and the world around me. It made me re-evaluate a lot  in terms of myself too just before I went to university.

3. Yellow (Sunshine) – A book that fills you with so much joy it could brighten even your darkest day

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This might seem like an odd choice for some but the friendship in this was amazing, the resolution makes my heart happy and just the journey that they go on together. One of my best friends is gay, a lot of people used to think we were a couple or he ‘wanted something’ but it was, and still is, one of the closest friendships I have. This book reminded me of that and challenged what people ‘should’ want and be doing with their lives.

 

4. Green (Nature) – A book that is set out of this world — a reality different to our own

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Dreadnought is set in a world where superheroes are known and part of everyday life. Dani is struggling and feels, deep down, that she is a girl. When superhero Dreadnought dies, Dani is given her wish of a female body, but she also takes the cape and becomes Dreadnought. I loved this novel. Review here.

5. Blue (Peace) – A book where one of the characters finds peace with a difficult truth

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This novel follows Amanda, the new girl at school. Her plan is to blend in, that is until she meets Grant her feelings for him could ruin everything. At her previous school Amanda was Andrew. This is an own voices novel where Amanda needs to find herself and where she belongs in the world.

6. Purple (Spirit) – A book that deals with LGBT+ themes and religion

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Love is Love is a collection to benefit the victims of the Pulse shooting. This is a stretch for this part of the tag but there are elements within this talking about religion but from the writers themselves about how love is love, despite what any religion says.