Monday, January 8, 2018

5 Books I Want to Read in 2018

Hey look it's 2018! (I say that like it's my first post of's not.) I didn't really mention it in my previous post though, so I'm going to say it here. It's one of my New Year's resolutions to get back into blogging this year. I kinda fell off the face of the internet because of school, but I'm excited to get back into it! I'll start off with the books I really want to get to this year...

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

19547856I bought this book more than a year ago and still haven't read it. But because the movie is coming out in March, I'm definitely going to have to read it in the next couple of months! I also bought Becky Albertalli's other book, the Upside of Unrequited, so I'll have to get to that one, too....

Learn more about the book:

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1)

Image result for the knife of never letting goI've loved all of Patrick Ness' stand alone novels like A Monster Calls, More Than This, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, and Release, but I never went back to his series, Chaos Walking! I got the first book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, awhile ago, and I really want to get into this series this year! And if I'm not mistaken, this one is also being made until a movie? (Update: Yes, it is, in 2019 probably.) I'm definitely going to want to see that as well...

Learn more about the book:

The Hate U Give

32075671This was basically everyone's favorite book of 2017, hell it's still a New York Times best seller after 44 goddamn weeks, and I just didn't manage to get to it last year! I feel very left out and I will definitely have to get on this hype train. I also just remembered that this is also being made into a movie. (I swear this wasn't on purpose.) As far as I can tell, they're still just starting, so it'll probably be awhile.

Learn more about the book:
The Hate U Give (the movie's IMDb page)

The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase #2)

27904311I read The Sword of Summer over two years ago and just never managed to pick up the second book. I know this book has a genderfluid character, which I'm very excited about, though I know that he/she uses only he/she pronouns, not they/them, which kinda annoys me. I've still never read a book with someone that uses they/them... (though I know they exist! Please recommend them!) But, to be fair, I know genderfluid people that use just he/him and she/her, so I'm still very glad that rep exists! Other than the LBGTQ+ stuff, I'm also super excited to get back into this world! I'm going to try to finish the series this year.

Learn more about the book:

Peter Darling

33358438Queer. Trans. Man. Oh my god. THAT'S ME. I'm so so so excited to read this book!!! I've honestly never been into Peter Pan, well, at least Disney's version (some of the more racist scenes really bothered me as a kid, though I couldn't quite explain why at the time). I'm going to take the liberty of assuming that this book doesn't have much of that and that I'll love it because all I've ever wanted in my life is fantasy with a trans guy as the main character.

Learn more about the book:
If this was made into a movie, I'd cry.

Most of those were gay and I'm excited about it. Feel free to tell me about the books you're most excited to read this year in the comments! (Also tell me which ones I should read.)

Picture Credit: All book covers are from Goodreads except The Knife of Never Letting Go, which is from Amazon.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Pretty Gay, Mostly Poetic | Note to Self by Connor Franta (Review)

Oh look another YouTuber wrote a book. A second one of his, in fact.

Note to SelfTitle: Note to Self
Author: Connor Franta
Pages: 308
Publisher: Keywords Press
Publish Date: 18 April 2017
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.15 stars
Synopsis: In his New York Times bestselling memoir, A Work in Progress, Connor Franta shared his journey from small-town Midwestern boy to full-fledged Internet sensation. Exploring his past with humor and astounding insight, Connor reminded his fans of why they first fell in love with him on YouTube—and revealed to newcomers how he relates to his millions of dedicated followers.

Now, two years later, Connor is ready to bring to light a side of himself he’s rarely shown on or off camera. In this diary-like look at his life since A Work In Progress, Connor talks about his battles with clinical depression, social anxiety, self-love, and acceptance; his desire to maintain an authentic self in a world that values shares and likes over true connections; his struggles with love and loss; and his renewed efforts to be in the moment—with others and himself.

Told through short essays, letters to his past and future selves, poetry, and original photography, Note to Self is a raw, in-the-moment look at the fascinating interior life of a young creator turning inward in order to move forward.

Cover Thoughts

I love the simplicity and symbolism. I'm all about that. Though I will admit that my fragile masculinity did not enjoy carrying around a pale pink book, it's still very pleasing to look at and really goes well with the book. Well done.

Final Thoughts After Reading

1. Yeah, okay, I think that was worth reading.
3. I definitely look at Connor differently now.


I don't really know how to format this because it's nonfiction and it doesn't have like...a plot... or characters I can criticize for not being realistic... so I'm just gonna figure it out as I go.

I guess I'll start here: Connor was one of the first YouTubers I ever subscribed to when I was about 10 or 11 and I first made a YouTube account. I'm now 16. And while I haven't exactly followed him religiously, I have still kept up with his journey as a YouTuber and a person. Basically, I went into this as a fan. I also read his previous book, A Work in Progress, so those were my only expectation's I guess.

This book is a collection of photos, poems, and short essays/moments of life. I guess I'll break each of those down.


The photos were absolutely beautiful. Connor is an amazing photographer and I love how it was integrated into the book. His pictures generally went well with the poem or essays surrounding it, which was cool. I appreciate the nature and minimal amount of people that aren't himself.

To be fair, I knew I was going to love his photography because I already do, but it was nice to see all of these that I'd never seen before. I also suggest you follow his Instagram. (It's less formal than the photos in the book but still very good.)


The poems were kind of a hit or miss for me. Unlike his photography, I'd never seen/read any of his poetry before. I really enjoyed some of them, while I felt others left something to be desired. Some flowed well, some felt awkward. Part of me wishes there were less poems just so the best ones could be put on display more, but what can ya do?

I'd say my favorite poems were greed & desire, too hopeful for my own good, and an old friend. If you just go and pick up this book in a bookstore or library without actually buying it/reading it in its entirety, these are the poems I suggest you read. Obviously, these are just the ones the stuck with me and probably aren't like the best written poems in the book, but like I enjoyed them so shut up.


I think I liked the essays better than the poems, but there were definitely a few that fell flat for me. Honestly, I do like Connor's writing. At times, it felt perfectly informal. I love his inner monologue. There were some times when he fell into the trap of telling instead of showing, but for the most emotional parts I think he did a decent job for not being a "professional writer." I think the poems did most of the showing, and the essays did some of both, so it's not the worst of sins.

Anyway, in my opinion, many of his essays were quite unique and insightful, others felt a bit cliché. They're definitely written for a teen audience (or they at least read as such), so, if that's not you, you'll probably get less out of this than I did. I think his "advice" was kind of weak and a bit unnecessary, but him explaining some of views on life, fears, etc. were actually very enjoyable. I love getting deep into another person's head. It felt like it was 2 AM and you're having those weird conversations with friends that you would never have if you weren't sleep deprived because they just don't seem that interesting when you're awake. But those are the conversations where you really learn the most about people. And I feel like that's what most of these essays were, which is something that maybe other people are into besides me?

This book went more into Connor's relationships and coming out story than his first book did, I assume because he hadn't been out that long when he wrote his first book. I appreciated this as I'll do anything to read something gay.

I'd also like to take this time to applaud Connor for talking about his depression in any capacity whatsoever. In some other reviews I read before writing this one, some reviewers were accusing him of "not really understanding what real mental illnesses are like." That's honestly some of the most heartless shit I've ever seen so I'd like to take this time to give him props for talking about it at all. I know how hard it can be to talk about mental illnesses when it comes to you personally, and I understand if he didn't go into much detail. That's okay. What's not okay is telling someone that they don't actually experience any "real mental illnesses" when you don't know shit, okay?

So yeah, good job Connor.


I thought this book was interesting. It gives more insight into a person's life than your average "YouTuber book" or, hell, even your average memoir. I feel like this little snippets of some random person's life may bore some people, but if you, like me, like trying to get into other people's heads and figure out their brain, this might be a book for you!

Honestly, though, if you're like. . . over the age of 30, this book probably won't do much for you. I feel like as an LGBTQ+ teenager that's a junior in high school and has struggled with depression, many of the topics discussed in this book are likely more relevant to me than they are to your average 30+ year old. Basically, the more you have in common with Connor, the more you'll like this.


Picture Credit: All pictures are either from the book itself (second picture), or are pictures I took of the book (third and fourth pictures). The cover picture (first picture) is from Goodreads. The star rating picture (fifth picture) is my own and should not be stolen (please).

Monday, July 24, 2017

My LGBTQ+ Themed TBR for BookTubeAThon 2017

*writes TBR at midnight when the BookTubeAThon has literally already started for me*
*pretends to live in Illinois (at least I can fake another Midwestern accent better than some other stuff)*

Hello! It's almost that time of the year again (the week of BookTubeAThon), so that means it's time for my TBR post! This is my third year participating in the BookTubeAThon, and I'm so excited to possibly be on schedule for my Goodreads challenge, and to finally get to some of the LGBTQ+ books I've had on my TBR pile for awhile!

And that brings me to my next point: this year, my BookTubeAThon TBR is completely LGBTQ+ books. I still have seven books and they all fit into the official challenges, but I'm also giving myself the extra challenge of reading all LGBTQ+ books. I don't know if anybody else has done this or something similar in the past, but if you know of anyone, please tell me! I'd love to see their TBR.

Anyway, I'll stop rambling now.

1. Read a book with a person on the cover.

For the first challenge, I'll be reading Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (gay MC), which, as you can see, has, well, most of a person on the cover? But that counts! I've been meaning to read one of Becky Albertalli's books for forever, and I think this is a good time! I know so many people that go on and on about this book, so I'm pretty sure I'll like it.

2. Read a hyped book.

My book for this one is More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (gay MC). Everyone I know that has read this book raves about it, and it's definitely my kind of book. I've also been really meaning to read an Adam Silvera book since I actually really like him as a person and read a lot of his interviews, but I've never managed to read one of his books! So I guess I've decided that his debut is the way to start?

3. Finish a book in one day.

This is kind of a difficult one to plan out, but I think I'm going to try to go with Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills (trans guy MC). Part of me wants to say, "Finally! A book about a trans guy!" and the other part is whining, "...but it's written by a cis woman..." The reason I'm picking this one is because it's pretty short, also I mayyyyy have snuck in about 45 pages worth of reading last week because I couldn't wait to read it. So far I only have a couple major issues (which I'll address in a review when I finish it because for all I know it could be discussed later), but it's honestly not as bad as I was expecting soooo.. that's a compliment I think.

4. Read a book about a character that is very different from you.

This was honestly a difficult one for me considering my theme and the fact that I've identified as pretty much every letter that's ever been part of the acronym at some point in my life, so I basically had to find the one letter I haven't been. The book I chose for this challenge is None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio, which features an intersex main character. I know that some people don't consider intersex strictly part of the LGBTQ+ community, but my choices were extremely limited here! This book does still deal with a lot of identity and body issues though, and I'm definitely not a straight girl, so this was a decent fit for this challenge!

5. Finish a book completely outdoors.

This... This is the cruelest challenge Ariel has ever given me. OUTSIDE? READING? READING OUTSIDE!?!?!?!? I'm not looking forward to this challenge, but I'm pretty determined to "win" BookTubeAThon this year, so I guess I gotta do what I gotta do. *shivers* Anyway, my fifth book is Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis (lesbian MCs). It's also my shortest book at 214 pages, and for good reason! I'm going to attempt to get as few mosquito bites as possible while completing this challenge. Wish me luck, guys.

6. Read a book you bought because of the cover.

As many of you know, I tend to specifically seek out books purely because they have LGBTQ+ characters, so this challenge was also a hard one for me, but I'm going with If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (trans girl MC), which I've been meaning to read for way to long. While I didn't buy this book specifically because of the cover, it was the cover that first introduced me to the book! I had a few friends that were really excited about this book about a trans girl written by a trans woman with a trans woman on the cover, and I was sold instantly. A trans woman on the cover?? Oh my god??? So I basically went out and bought this book right when it came out mostly because of the cover...

7. Read seven books.

While this one may change depending on how much time I have left at the end of the week, my plan is to read my ARC of Mask of Shadows by Lindsey Miller, which follows a genderfluid character through a fantasy setting. And I don't know if you guys know, but LGBTQ+ fantasy is pretty much my favorite thing in the whole world, and I was absolutely thrilled when I got approve for an advanced copy. At the same time, this is the longest book on this list at about 384 pages, so I might end up not having enough time, but I thought I'd put it on anyway!

And that's my TBR! Now I guess it's time for me to read? Yay! I may end up swapping a book or two out of these in favor of a shorter book, most notably The Marvels by Brian Selznick (which actually has a gay character, impressive for a middle grade book) and The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, and The Red Pyramid graphic novels by Rick Riordan, made into graphic novels by...some other people (you're welcome). But yeah, if I run out of time, that's what I'm going for.

Thanks for reading!

PS: Sorry, I didn't have the energy to add in pictures. It's 12:45 AM. I swear, I usually do better. (read: "Please follow me I'm desperate")

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Books I Read for Pride Month

Hello! Pride Month just ended, and I thought I'd share with you the books I read in honor of Pride!

Image result for being jazz my life as a transgender1. Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings

My Rating: 4 stars
Representation: trans girl, other queer people mentioned (#ownvoices)
Quick Review: This memoir by teenage trans activist Jazz Jennings gives a full-life view into the experiences of (one) transgender teen. I found reading about another teen trans activist very interesting, especially since Jazz came out and transitioned so much younger than most of us. Her writing was relatively simplistic, but what can you expect from a teenager that's not exactly a professional writer? That being said, Jazz's writing was much better and easier to read than other teen writers I've read, so props to her. I would recommended this book to both cis (non-trans) and trans people of pretty much any age, teen and up, that wants to get an idea of what it's like to be transgender, though I would keep in mind that this is a very privileged experience! (Just saying.)

The Traitor's Tunnel (A Trident Chronicles Novella)2. The Traitor's Tunnel (A Trident Chronicles Novella) by C.M. Spivey

My Rating: 5 stars
Representation: pansexuality, ace-spectrum, several queer characters (#ownvoices)
Quick Review: This novella is a prequel to Spivey's Trident Chronicles, though it is not necessary to read that book before reading this one. (I didn't, and it mostly made sense, though I will be reading this series after reading this novella!) I'm glad I've been finding so many LGBTQ+ fantasies lately, as I almost always love them. This story has a variety of queer characters, including the two main characters, their love interests, and other side characters. I love how this story normalizes asking someone's pronouns, getting consent from partners, and calling people by gender neutral pronouns ("ze" is used here) before you know their gender, which is something that is pretty much never seen anywhere, and I would love to see more of it, especially in YA. This novella also has a simple yet enjoyable plot, as well as lovable (and shipable) characters. And it definitely leaves me wanting more of this world!

Image result for half truths and half lies sally green3. Half Lies and Half Truths (The Half Bad Trilogy #0.5 and #0.6) by Sally Green

My Rating: 3 stars (for both)
Representation: gay male character (not #ownvoices)
Image result for half truths and half lies sally greenQuick Review: Half Lies follows the sister of a character named Gabriel (one of the main characters from the trilogy), but Gabriel also plays a major role, and his gayness is treated very well and casually, though it is not the focus of the story. Half Truths is told from three points of view, but it is focused on Gabriel right after the events in Half Lies, as well as his love interest (in this novella), Jon. Both stories were pretty enjoyable, though it's kind of hard to really love a novella. It kind of hurt to read after already finishing the Half Bad Trilogy (trying not to spoil things), but considering that each of these stories are only $0.99 on Amazon, they were definitely worth purchasing. It was also pretty entertaining to read about Europeans in America and then in Switzerland while being an American in Switzerland...

Image result for boy meets boy4. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

My Rating: 4 stars
Representation: several gay characters, bisexual character, ...drag queen/trans girl? (she's referred to as a drag queen but goes by female pronouns all the time so idk this was 2003) (#ownvoices for the gay characters)
Quick Review: For a queer book written in 2003, this book surprised me. Boy Meets Boy takes place in a strange town where homophobia is rare and gay-straight alliances exist in 2003 (12 years before my own). It's nearly a gay utopia, which is probably what queer kids needed in 2003 to be honest. This is definitely the kind of book I would give to young gay kids. Like, someone please give this to eleven-year-old me. All eleven-year-old me needed was cute gays being themselves, and that's exactly what this book is. Obviously, this isn't the kind of thing every queer kid needs (it might disappoint them when they realize that reality isn't like this), but it was a nice escape from the slurs I get called daily, and my school is considered pretty accepting! But still, that kind of thing isn't for everyone.

Did you read any LGBTQ+ books for pride? Tell me in the comments! And if you have any queer book recommendations (bonus points if you can come up with one I haven't heard of!), you can tell me there as well.

Happy July! Aka LGBTQ+ Wrath Month.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Author Guest Post: Maxine Thompson (Dialectic on the Survival of a Battery Doll)

Dialectic on the Survival of a Battery Doll

Maxine Thompson

When we talk of lusts, I always got the impression that it is mostly related to sexual lust. Personally I have lusted in many ways. Marginal levels of maturity has shown me that.

In this instance, I think I can acknowledge the three main lusts that turned me from a life of humility and true contentment, to a life of desperation and mental enslavement.

The first of these, I had initially held in the best regard, which, to be fair, is a likely condition and symptom of lust.

I had lived with him for close to a decade. I had lived with him for years, until I had to accept that he was an incubus and an abuser. He was someone that absorbed my strength, my heart, and eventually my will to live. I was left depleted, abandoned, and absent-minded. This did not happen at the end of the time we spent together, but was happening clandestinely throughout. I only opened my eyes to the truth after the fact. I guess it just seems to happen that way - something to do with denial, or worse, ego.

I internalised and fantasized my life - living through yahoo chat rooms, my avatar on second life, and a holiday romance that left me with a son, whilst still legally bound to this deception of a reality.

The incubus forced me to live an arid existence, whilst he kept two households in the same vicinity - this double-life totally unknown to me. His attitude and behaviour whilst we were together, was one of heavy condemnation. He judged me, and verbally tore me down, brutishly, and arrogantly, with a mouth like a viper. It became a competition, to prove myself just as it has always been. I was “nasty” and “lazy” with home maintenance. I did not teach the boys to clean up after themselves, and I was an overweight “pig”, with “no sense”. No other man would accept the scars on my stomach from the multiple caesareans and laparotomies that I had had to save my life, and even my “mother does not love me”. My friends were “whores and roaches”, and there were doubts about whether I had ever really been sexually assaulted, despite police and crown prosecution involvement.

No one wanted to suffer his company, and my company diminished. I did meet him whilst very vulnerable - twenty-one and extravagantly low in self-esteem…

Let me talk a little about my second lust - the idea of beauty.

Beauty has had a serious influence on me. It seems to have a serious persuasion on people in general, but obviously in different proportions, and ways. For me though, it is something of a novelty. It is a novelty first of all because of my mother, and then further on in my college years in my need to be attractive, to the degree that I ended up putting so much weight on it throughout my formative years, and adulthood altogether. I struggled to see past it, and once I thought I had set my eyes on what appeared to be good, I was hooked on it being good, until the truth was later revealed…

My third lust, the one I saw as the pride of life, and the one to make me appear wise, was my lust for achievement. It was my lust to be a success in this world. I wanted to do something good in life, and in society, and the idea of rising to a respectable office in the Home Office (an established and highly regarded organisation) also appealed to my ego. I did not really see it like that in my youth: I just wanted a job, and it was in government administration, and I thought, “that is good, maybe I will make something of myself”. I did not know what it was really like, until my love of ego nearly killed who I was.

I dream tigers that stalk me. These treacherous and calculating creatures, that hunt the weak. With piercing eyes, and intent foreheads. Their colour so striking and vivid in quite lucid dreams. I was thankful that at one point I walked into a room full of dead ones.

I was wearing only pyjamas and large green wellington boots. As though I was the hunter. I had not attacked them though, so I am in no way sure how these creatures died.

Sometimes I see big rats passing near me and I get a sense of envy. Sometimes I dream large snakes, and being choked by them as they press heavily in, and circle tightly around my throat. I dream that I am in a room filled with people who have lost their minds and can’t communicate.

I suffer severe nightmares in which I am being chased by various men, up and down escalators, running on rollercoasters, up and down hills and valleys, and in and through cubes. I dream myself bound to a chair, with my arms tied up behind my back. Sitting there in complete terror, in a dark cave…

I had always felt a deep rejection which I really could not articulate. I could not articulate it, but I knew from the beginning, I was alone. I felt myself leave, mentally and emotionally. I turned cold, and withdrew into myself, deciding that one day I would find love and feel special. This ‘feeling’ and ‘sense’ of rejection, abandonment and loneliness, really lead to my primary infirmity, because it made me feel inadequate and made me desperate for acceptance but in an exclusive, ‘everyone must work for my love and attention’ kind of way. As though, if you do not think I am good enough, then neither are you, and you must prove yourself.

I became a living doll. Life-like, and alive, but cold inside. A doll bearing invisible weights that had settled around my innocent and naive heart, forming firmament between me and people.

This memory left me wondering whether this was the beginning of my disassociation. A disassociation that I never quite understand because the whole concept is quite challenging to get my head around. When I was told by my therapist that I think my emotions, I don’t feel them, I was left confused. I had to go away and really think about what that meant. How long had I separated myself from my feelings? How long had I fallen into the habit of questioning them, and sense checking them to make myself deal with pressure and move on? I was doing this as long as I could remember. It didn’t serve me well to pander to them and sit and cry from injury. Injury was happening to me all the time so who cares. What did it matter? I needed to get up and carry on. So I did, time and time again.

Dialectic on the Survival of a Battery Doll – Maxine Thompson

Dialectic on the Survival of a Battery Doll by [Thompson, Maxine]Exposing the effects of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder from the experience of a woman This book was written to assist in individual person psychoanalysis. From the author’s experience as a woman, a domestic abuse victim, a UK civil servant (in the modern workforce where commitments are torn between work and family life), and as a result of being diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety and depression. It is key now, because it is an important contribution to the public discussion on mental health and work, as it provides a point of view that echoes the experience, and voice of many living in the UK at a time of uncertainty: not only as a woman, but as a domestic abuse victim, and as a former employee for the Home Office. This book was written following employment tribunal, at a time of distinct trial, and in trying to face the uncertainty of income, and the possible loss of profession. It called for a change of thinking habits, and a change in perception in order to survive.

Thanks to Maxine and Publishing Push for this guest post!