#ownvoices · bookish list · Diverse Books

Underrated LGBTQIA+ Books

Underrated LGBTQIA Books.jpg

 

Coffee Boy by Austin Chant – 960 rating on Goodreads
  • Representation: Transexual man mc (#ownvoices) & bisexual man li
  • Genre: New adult, romance
  • Why read it?: Short book with funny and witty banter, character development, thoughtful conversations about gender and sexual orientation & a great romance.
Secondhand Origin Story by  Lee Blauersouth – 24 ratings on goodreads
  • Representation: Black lesbian mc, lesbian mc, asexual mc, gender queer mc (#ownvoices).
  • Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
  • Why read it?: A character driven story set in a fascinating world full of superheroes. A group of teens that has to fight against a corrupt, racist and ableist system.
The Story of Lizzy and Darcy by Grace Watson – 97 ratings on Goodreads
  • Representation: Lesbian mc, bisexual mc, trans side character
  • Genre: Contemporary, Romance
  • Why read it?: Amazing Pride and Prejudice retelling, with the publishing industry as a background.
Future Leaders of Nowhere by Emily O’beirne – 298 ratings on Goodreads
  • Representation: Lesbian indian-australian mc, bisexual mc
  • Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
  • Why read it?: Character development and a really interesting premise: a competition that it’s a mix between a summer camp and a Model UN.

 

 These books are part of a series, but they can be read separetely and out of order.

Small Change by Roan Parrish – 539 ratings on Goodreads 
  • Representation: bisexual female mc
  • Genre: Romance, Contemporary
  • Why read it?: A story about a bisexual female tattoo artist that’s dating a guy, who is the sweetest, nicest love interest ever. It deals with gender and with the idea of a woman in a male dominated industry.
Invitations to the Blues by Roan Parrish – 431 ratings on Goodreads
  • Representation: gay mc, black gay mc
  • Genre: Romance, Contemporary
  • Why read it?: Complex characters, interesting discussions about race and mental health, and a really adorable love story.
Honorary Mentions 

These are 3 books that have a higher amount of ratings on Goodreads, but they still have less than 3000 ratings.  I feel that these books deserve to be read by a lot more people and that’s why I’m including them.

 

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera – 2989 ratings on Goodreads 
  • Representation: Latinx lesbian mc (#ownvoices)
  • Genre: Young Adult, Fiction
  • Why read it?: A main character with a captivating and honest voice, a lot of character development and important discussions about intersectional feminism, queerness  and safe spaces.
How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake – 1529 ratings on Goodreads 
  • Representation: bisexual mc, biracial lesbian li
  • Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
  • Why read it?: A really sweet romance and a raw, complicated mother/daughter relationship that it’s addressed with so much honesty.
Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee – 2798 ratings on Goodreads 
  • Representation:  bisexual and Chinese-Vietnamese mc (#ownvoices), lesbian li
  • Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
  • Why read it?: A cute book set in an interesting post-apocalyptic world, amazing conversations about gender and sexual orientation,  villains that are not so evil and heroes that are not so good.
Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? What underrated LGBTQ+ books do you reccomend?

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#ownvoices · Diverse Books · Review

Book Review: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

The Wedding Date 2

Title: The Wedding Date

Author: Jasmine Guillory

Publishing Date:  January 30th 2018

Published by:  Berkley

Genres: Adult, Romance

Pages: 224 pages

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other… 

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…

Goodreads | Amazon

The first half of The Wedding Date is full of cute, romantic and even some relatively steamy moments. The main character, Alexa, is smart, strong and driven and then the other main character, Drew, is really charming, at least in the first half of the book. Both characters have established careers that they are passionate about, which makes the story and the characters more compelling.

Something else that adds to the story is the fact that Alexa and Drew are an interracial couple, Alexa is black and this is #ownvoices representation, while Drew is white. Throughout the book, there are scenes where they have some interesting conversations about race, which adds depth to this story and make it more engaging. Also, this book does a very good job of showing Alexa’s insecurities and how society’s beauty standards  can affect someone body image.

The second half of this is where things go a bit south for me.  As I mentioned before,  the main character, Drew, is pretty charming thorughout the first half of this  and I even like him in the second half when he is with Alexa. Nonetheless, everytime Drew is with his best friend, Carlos, especially towards the end, he’s an asshole and a terrible friend, which takes away from the belief that he is a great guy for Alexa, because someone who is rude and inconsiderate towards their friends isn’t exactly good relationship material.

Another issue I have with this book is that the problems between Alexa and Drew in the second half are communication problems and they could have been solved easily. I think this is particulary frustrating because at the beginning of the book, Alexa and Drew are established as mature and intelligent characters, and so it was a bit unbelievable that they couldn’t have an honest and open conversation about their relationship. I understand that the fact that the relationship starts with fake dating makes them have doubts about it, but I also think that their inhability to communicate and talk drags out way too long.

Overall, this is a fun and cute read, especially at the beginning, and it deals with important subjects like race and body image in a very good way. Nonetheless, it loses some of its appeal by the end because both the main character, Drew, and the relationship between Drew and Alexa become less charming.

Rating: 3,6  stars

Have you read this book? Did you like it? Do you have it on your tbr?

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#ownvoices · Diverse Books · Review

Book Review: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X

Title: The Poet X

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Publishing Date: March 6th 2018

Published by: HarperTeen

Genres: Comtemporary, YA

Pages: 368

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

Goodreads | Amazon 

The Poet X is an #ownvoices story about a dominican american girl called Xiomara. It’s a story that explores Xiomara’s struggle with inhabiting her body, a body that attracs attention and because of it, it’s unwillingly subjected to the male gaze; it also deals with growing up in a conservative latinx family that it’s extremely religious and that imposes faith and leaves no room for questions. It’s a book about trying to figure who you are in an enviroment that doesn’t leave much room to do so.

This book is written in verse, which allows the reader to connect with the main character, Xiomara, and her struggles so much more and it makes the story more compelling than it would have been if it was written like a normal novel. We get a direct line to the powerful emotions that she is experiencing and trying to express, which allows an intimacy that it wouldn’t have been possible any other way. Despise being written in verse, the narration is still easy to follow because all the different parts are connected and one flows into the other with ease.

One of  the strongest aspects of the book is the exploration of faith and religion; reading from Xiomara’s pespective, the reader gets to understand all her doubts around her own faith, but also her questioning of the rol that women have been assigned in catholisms as the sinners, the temptation and a lot of times the inferior gender. It also explores the tension that exists in a lot of latinx families when it comes to religion and how even when certain ceremonies like the Confirmation are meant to be a voluntary acceptance of the faith, they become this mandatory step to be a part of the family. Also, the way this books draws a parallel between prayer and poetry is absolutely sublime and it’s done in a very powerful way.

This book also explores complicated family dynamics and it’s particulary interesting to see the mother/daughter relationship; the misunderstanding, the judgement, the contrary beliefs, but also the way it develops when both mother and daughter try to understand each others truths. They don’t arrive to that point until a huge confrontation that it’s intense, raw and heartbreaking, but seeing the ups and downs of their relationships is compelling and engaging.

Throughout the story, Xiomara discovers slam poetry and it’s amazing to experience, through her perspective, the freedom and the happiness of finding a way to express all her thoughts and emotions in a time of her life when she really needs that outlet.

Rating: 4.7 stars 

Have you read this book? Did you like it? Do you have it on your tbr?

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#ownvoices · bookish list · Diverse Books

Most Anticipated Book Releases – June 2018

Most anticipated book releases 2018

Hi guys! So, I have written one of these posts ever month this year,  I have been consisten in that sense at least, but I have done a very poor job of actually reading the books I’m anticipating. I’m hoping to make a post in June to check my progress, because reading my anticipated books was a goal of mine for 2018, so I hope that’s gonna motivate me to actually read some of the books I have put in these posts before the month ends. Let’s hope that actually happens!

Anyway, here are some of my most anticipated books that are being release in June 2018:

 

Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim

Road trip + frienships + New Orleans + Muslim rep + South Asian rep + fun banter + Queer rep + self discovery = what else could I ask for?! This sounds like a book I would really enjoy and I was really excited to read it, until I look it up on Goodreads to write this post and saw that it doesn’t have the best reviews. I have been anticipating it for a while and that’s why I still included it, but I’m a bit nervious about it.

Release date: June 5th 2018

Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

The main character in this book is a muslim woman, who is an aspiring poet struggling with money issues, that sounds really interesting to me. Plus, this is an #ownvoices story. Also, it’s a Pride and Prejudice retelling and I love those!

Release date: June 12th 2018

Not the Girls You’re Looking For  by Aminah Mae Safi

Female friendship takes a central place in this story and I’m here for it! If we add the fact that this is a very diverse book in terms of culture and sexual orientation, I’m even more excited. Also, it’s #ownvoices!

 Release date: June 19th 2018

Final Draft by Riley Redgate

This book has a pansexual, biracial,  plus-size main character, who is an aspiring writer, and I can’t wait to read her story. Plus, I heard that her group of friends is adorable and it’s a big part of the story and I’m excited to read about them.  Also, I have heard a lot of great things about Riley Redgate’s writing and her other books, so I want to read something by her.

 Release date: June 12th 2018

What June book releases are you anticipating? Do you want to read any of these books? Have you read any of these books and what did you think about them?

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#ownvoices · bookish list · Diverse Books

Underrated Diverse Romance Books (less than 200 ratings on Goodreads)

Underrated Diverse Romance Books

Recently, I discovered that some diverse romance books I really enjoyed have less than a 200 ratings on Goodreads. After realizing this, I felt like it was a good idea to promote these amazing books that a lot of people may have not read. I didn’t choose books released in 2018, because I feel like they haven’t been out for very long and that may have to do with why they don’t have that many ratings.

A few weeks ago, I did a post about Underrated YA Books (less than 1000 rating on Goodreads)  in case you want to check it out! Now I wanted to make a list of diverse romance books with less than a 200 ratings on Goodreads that I think deserve more attention and love from the reading community:

 

If The Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman (2016) – 156 ratings on Goodreads

if-the-dress-fits

Martha Aguas kind of has it all–she’s an accountant who loves numbers, an accident-prone puppy that loves her, and the perfect wardrobe. Yes, she wears a dress size 24, her bras don’t fit and she’s never had a boyfriend, but so what? 

It becomes a big deal when her perfect cousin Regina announces her engagement to Enzo, the only boy she’s ever loved (he doesn’t know, so don’t tell him!) Suddenly Aguases from all corners of the globe are coming for the event, and the last thing Martha wants is to be asked why she still prefers her lattes with a waffle on the side. 

Thank god for Max. Goofy, funny, dependable Max, who finds himself playing the fake boyfriend at the family festivities. But why does it feel like only one of them is pretending?

Goodreads | Amazon 

If you want am #ownvoices book about a fat filipina main character with a really cute best friends to lovers romance, that stars with fake dating and that has incredible family dynamic and insightful depiction of the Philippines, this book is for you! It’s a funny and adorable read. You can read my full review and you can see the Bookish Style Guide I did based on the main character Martha Aguas.

 

North to You by Tif Marcelo (2017) – 165 ratings on Goodreads 

North to youCamille Marino has got a full plate. As the sole guardian of her eighteen-year-old sister and the head chef and owner of a food truck, she’s used to life being a juggling act. With food to cook, social media accounts to manage, and a little sister to look after, she doesn’t have time for much else. That is, until Drew Bautista walks back into her life.

Drew is Camille’s former high school crush and he returns to San Francisco to repair his relationship with his father before he ships out for deployment. By helping his father renovate his failing Filipino restaurant, he hopes to win back his respect. But when sparks fly between Drew and Camille—his father’s major competition and sworn enemy—Drew is conflicted. Should he join his father in the war against her food truck? Or surrender to the woman who’s given him a second chance at love?

Goodreads | Amazon

If you are looking for a book with  likeble main characters, a soft hero, a second chance romance and an interesting storyline revolving around food, this may be the book for you!  Also, I would like to mention that the male main characters is filipino and there’s a lot of reference to Filipino food.

The Story of Lizzy and Darcy by Grace Watson (2017) – 90 ratings on Goodreads

The Story of Lizzie and Darcy

 

When Lizzy Bennet first meets Darcy Williams, there is an instant dislike between them. As much as they try to avoid it their paths keep crossing, and they each start to see a different side to the other. Their tentative friendship is soon tested, but will they realise how they really feel?

The Story of Lizzy and Darcy is a modern day, same-sex adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Goodreads | Amazon

If you would like to read a Pride & Prejudice retelling, where a lesbian and a bisexual woman that have tons of chemestry fall in love, all while working in the book publishing industry, this book is for you! Also, there’s a trans character in this book that has a big role in the story.

 

Better at Weddings Than You by Mina V. Esguerra (2017) – 134 ratings on Goodreads 

Better at Weddings than you

Daphne Cardenas is the best wedding planner around, and everyone knows it. That’s why her friend Greg hired her as an emergency replacement one month before his wedding—because he fears his fiancée Helen is falling for the guy they first hired for the job. 

Aaron Trinidad is new to the wedding industry but years of conference planning and loads of charm make him good at it. Really good at it. Planning the wedding of his friend Helen should be easy, and it is. To be unceremoniously fired isn’t good for his new career, but the chance to learn from the best might be the silver lining.

Aaron and Daphne have chemistry, but there’s history with Helen that at least one other person considers a threat. Who’s the planner who can fix this impending disaster?

Goodreads | Amazon  

If you would like to read a book set in the Philippines, revolving around the wedding planning industry, with a romance between a female main character that has been planning weddings for years and a charming guy that’s a new comer into the wedding planning buisness, you may enjoy this book! Also, this is #ownvoices, written by a filipina author.

 

Do you want to read any of these books? Have you read any of these books? Did you like them?
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#ownvoices · Diverse Books · Review

Book Review: Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth (Blog Tour)

Superhero Origins tour banner (large)

Hi guys! I’m lucky enough to be part of the blog tour for this amazing book called Secondhand Origin Stories, which is a diverse book that involves sensitive issues, such as systemic racism and ableism.  I loved the book, here’s my review:

Secondhand Origin Stories cover.png

Title: Secondhand Origin Stories

Author: Lee Blauersouth

Publishing Date: 15 March 2018

Genres: Science Fiction, YA

Pages: 364

Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.

But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?

Goodreads | Amazon 

This book drops you right in the middle of a world where superheroes, villains and people with habilities exist, there’s especial goverment agencies and police units that regulate them and there’s corruption and injustice surrounding them. You have to learn about this world as you read, you see how everything works through the chracters’ perspectives and that’s how you learn about it. For me this worked really well, it didn’t take me too long to feel like I understood at least the basics of how the world worked and, after a little bit, I was able to keep up with the story without problem.

Something that I really enjoyed about this book was that it was intriguing from the start, there were secrets and mysteries around the four main characters and they didn’t know the answers either and they were trying to figure things out and that sucked me into the story inmediately, because I wanted to know what was going on.

As I said before, there’s four main characters, which were my favorite aspect of this book. I fell in love very quickly with three of those characters: Isaac, Yael and Jamie. They were the children of the superheroes and they were really complex characters,  a genius scientist, an non-binary aspiring superhero and a character that is both vulnerable and so strong. From the pov of these three characters, the reader gets to see the dynamics of the superhero team and how it is not only a team but a family. That element is crucial to the story, because the complicated family dynamics, which I found fascinating to read about, promt a lot of the events that move the plot along.

Then there’s the fourth main character, Opal, which took me a little longer to love. Opal is an outsider to the team, to the family and she very much felt like an outsider to the story for at least the first half of the book. During that first half, I prefered to read from the other 3 perspectives, because from them I could learn more about all the secrets that were being kept. Later on, when the circumstances made it so that all four characters have to be together in a more full time basis, that’s when I fell in love with Opal as well. She is a nice, smart, compasionate, down to earth character with a strong moral sense.

Secondhand Origin Stories is definitely a character driven book much more than a plot driven one. The main problems that the characters are trying to solve are corruption and injustice in such a large scale that one book is not enough to confront all the different characters that  play a part in that. This book, as the first in the series, manages to: make the characters aware of the problems, makes them decide to do something about it and makes sure that the team is as strong as it can be. It’s defintely a book that’s setting things up, but it’s not boring or slow, there’s so many things happening all the time. There’s one main storyline, that’s really interesting,  about technology and the ethical use of it, that’s one of the first issues that the characters have to confront and it has a direct relation to the corruption and injustice that they are trying to change.

I think it’s important to mention that this is a really diverse book. The main characters are all queer, including a non binary main character.  Also, one of the main characters is a black girl and there’s conversations throughout the book about systematic racism and especially about racial profiling and incarceration of black people. Additionally, there are deaf characters and there are characters that use ASL to communicate, and while there’s ableism portrait in this book, it’s called out and talked about on page.

Rating: 4,5 stars 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lee Blauersouth

After about a decade of drawing comics independently or with small presses, Lee started writing prose out of a combination of peer pressure and spite, then continued out of attachment to their favorite made-up people. They live in Minnesota even though it is clearly not a habitat humans were ever meant to endure, with their lovely wife/editor, the world’s most perfect baby, and books in every room of the house.

If you like categories, they’re an ENFJ Slytherin Leo. If you’re looking for demographics they’re an agender bisexual with a couple of disabilities. If you’re into lists of likes: Lee loves comics, classical art, round animals, tattoos, opera, ogling the shiner sciences, and queer stuff.

Author website | Goodreads | Pinterest  | Twitter

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

23 April (Monday)

24 April (Tuesday)

25 April (Wednesday)

26 April (Thursday)

27 April (Friday)

#ownvoices · 9 Books Monday · Diverse Books

9 Books with Lesbian Main Characters

9 books lesbian

Hey guys! I’m finally out of my blogging slump and I couldn’t be happier. To get back into schedule, I decided to start with 9 Books Monday, which is a feature here on Bookish Wanderess where I talk about books that are focused on marginalized group (Here are the 9 Books Monday posts I have written so far). The idea is that on Mondays, I’ll talk about 9 books that have positive representation for a minority/marginalized group.

This series is not only to recommend books that I have read to you and to talk about books I want to read, this series is also a reminder to me that I need to expand my reading and search for books that allow me to know other cultures, perspectives and ways of life. Today, I will talk about 9 books with lesbian main characters.

3 Books I Read and Loved

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

A lesbian biracial girl + references to the movie industry: things about set design, location scouting, casting, shooting + a small mystery +  a lovely and quiet romance. I had so much fun when I read this and I have heard nothing but good things for #ownvoices reviewers. Maybe that has to do with this being an #ownvoices book!

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera 

This is one of my favorite books of all times. The main character in this book is Latinx and queer (#ownvoices!) and I love the fact that this books deals with a lot of important subjects related to intersectional feminism.  Also, this is #Ownvoices.

Future Leaders of Nowhere by Emily O’Beirne

This book has two main characters: an Australian-indian lesbian girl and a bisexual girl. The book is about a competition- where both girls meet- that’s similar to a model UN but it takes place in a summer camp. This book not only has great representation, it also has a very interesting concep and it’s not that well known, so you should check it out!

3 Books on my TBR 

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

Lesbian pirates + giant sea animals + intriguing plot = what more could I need? I can’t wait to read this, it sounds like something I would love and I have heard nothing but good things from #ownvoices readers.

As I Descended by Robin Tally

A Macbeth retelling that has Hispanic characters and folklore, an f/f romance, an m/m romance and a disabled character. I can’t not wait to read this, I’m really intrigued!

We are Okay by Nina LaCour

This is a slow and  quiet story about grief and at the center of it are two girls that used to be in a relationship and that haven’t seen each other in a while. I have heard great things about the way the representation. Honestly, I liked Everything Leads to You so much that I’m really excited to read another Nina LaCour book.

3 Books Releasing Soon 

The Love Song of Sawyer Bell by Avon Gale (September 25th 2017 )

An indie rock band that’s going on tour + a female lead singer + a classically trained female violinist + kisses and lots of chemestry = the perfect contemporary that I want to read RIGHT NOW! That’s all I have to say about this one.

A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo (October 17th 2017 )

This is a phycological thriller with various queer female characters and a Chinese main character. I’m really intrigued by the synopsis of this book and especially by the cover. I have never read any book by Malinda Lo, but I have heard amazing things about all of them and about the representations in them. I can’t wait to read this one.

Spinning by Tillie Walden (September 12th 2017)

A graphic novel about figure skating and coming out, but also about outgrowing a passion. It sounds fascinating, especially because I have never read anything about figure skating. I haven’t hear that much about it, so I’m not sure about the representation but I’m hoping is good.

Have you read any of these books? did you enjoy them? Are you planning on reading any of them? Do you have recommendations for books with lesbian main characters? 

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