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LGBTQIA+ Books

Since I was feeling a little beat up about season 7 of Voltron, I decided to compile a list of books that have characters that are LGBTQIA+. Enjoy!

Representation is a big deal in the modern age. While some of these books might not necessarily be considered “modern” and a few others might not be conventionally LGBTQIA+, they all DO have representation of one form or another. In an age where people are becoming more accepting, it is imperative to introduce diverse characters to our younger generations and even older generations to show them that there is absolutely nothing wrong with accepting who you are and how to accept the people around you. In recent years, I have seen this improve tremendously and can’t wait to see how this improves even more in the future of print media, TV, and movies.

If there’s a book you love that isn’t listed below, or if you’re an author with LGBTQIA+ rep in your book, feel free to drop the title/link to your book down in the comments. I tried to keep this list to ones that I had read, but I slipped in a few that I haven’t gotten around to.

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1. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

2. Captive Prince by P.S. Pacat

3. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

3.5 The Iliad by Homer

4. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

5. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

6. The Raven Cycle (series) by Maggie Stiefvater

120000207. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

8. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard (series) by Rick Riordan

9. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

10. The Mortal Instruments (series) by Cassandra Clare

11. Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

12. Contagion by Erin Bowman

13. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

14. Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

15. Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall

16. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

17. At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson

18. Fence (graphic novel series) by P.S. Pacat

19. Every Day (series) by David Levithan

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Caloric by Tricia Barr – Book Blitz + Giveaway

Displaying CaloricBlitzBanner.png

Title: Caloric
Author: Tricia Barr

Displaying Caloric.jpgPhoenyx Blake has a secret. When she wakes in a dungeon with three strangers, she is forced to face it, which isn’t easy seeing as her cellmate, Sebastian, has starred in her dreams. As days pass, they learn they are each one of the four elements bound in human form and they have been abducted by an ancient society that plans to kill them and steal their powers. If they hope to escape, they must master their powers, and Phoenyx must learn to let go of fear and let love in, before it’s too late.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35408684-caloric?ac=1&from_search=true

Purchase:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Caloric-Tricia-Barr/dp/0998977713/
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/caloric-tricia-barr/1122743322?ean=9780998977713
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/caloric-2

LOOK HERE FOR A SUPER AWESOME EXCERPT!!!

   The door clanked unlocked and then swung open. This time when the large bald man stepped inside, he paused, did a double take of the room and dropped the large paper bags at his feet. His face went sallow and he looked clearly distraught.
“Shit,” he muttered. Then he approached the cell to take a closer look and assess his next move.
As soon as he came close enough, Phoenyx grabbed his arm. He jumped in shock and confusion, but then quickly relaxed, soothed by her touch.
“Don’t be afraid,” she said in a sultry voice. “You want to help us. All you have to do is unlock these cells and let us out.”
“I would but I don’t have the key,” he said, his eyes locked on hers, looking like a love-sick puppy.
There was a collective sigh of disappointment behind her.
“Who does?” she asked.
“Dexter has it,” he confessed eagerly.
“Is there any way that you can get the key for us?”
“Uhhh, I don’t know,” he said. “He keeps it hidden in his office and no one is allowed in there. I will gladly try.”
She frowned. Why did we just assume this automaton would have the key? This really put a damper on their plans.
“Ask him what we’re doing in here,” Sebastian whispered.
“Right, why are we locked up in here?” she asked the oaf.
“Because, you four are the Bound Ones, from the legend,” he said as if it was simple and obvious.
“The Bound Ones?” she asked, feeling like she just stepped into The Twilight Zone. “What legend?”
“Yes, the legend we learn when we join the brotherhood. The legend of the Bound Ones says that, thousands of years ago, man was a slave to the elements. Man could not master crops because Earth was fickle. Volcanic eruptions would swallow whole villages and earthquakes would topple any and all of man’s accomplishments. Man could not master the sea because Water was too proud to be tamed. Air constantly tore apart cities with tornados and hurricanes, and Fire ravaged everything in its path. So our forefathers, the wisest of the Celtic sorcerers, forged a powerful spell binding each of the four elements to a volunteer from the rite, so that man would have control over the elements, rather than be controlled by them.”
“So…you’re saying that the four of us each have one of the four elements inside of us?” she asked, unable to keep the tone of doubt from spewing out.
“Yes, you are Earth, Air, Fire, and Water in bound human form,” he said, as if none of this sounded ridiculous.
Phoenyx turned around and looked at the others. Their faces were a mixture of skepticism and pensiveness.
“If this is true, what makes you think we are these Bound Ones? Wouldn’t they be long dead seeing as this legend happened so long ago?” Skylar asked.
“According to the legend,” the bald man began, “the spell was made to keep the elements bound in human form through reincarnation. The elements are eternal and cannot be destroyed, so if the bound human died, the element would once again be free. The spell was made to assure that once the human died, the element would be immediately reborn into another human vessel. Unfortunately for our forefathers, they didn’t take into account how that would make it impossible to keep track of them. After the first volunteers died, we lost hold of them permanently.”
“That still doesn’t explain why you think these Bound Ones are us particular four people,” Skylar argued.
“There was another partition in the spell,” the man continued. “When one of the Bound Ones dies, all die, and when one is born, all are born.”
That struck a chord in all of them.
“That’s why we all have the same birthday,” Lily said.
“That’s why they want to keep us alive,” Sebastian said. “They think if one of us dies, we’ll all die.”
“Yes,” the man said.
“That doesn’t prove anything,” Sebastian said. “So we were all born on the same day. Big deal. There must be thousands of other people all over the world born that same day.”
“You were all born, not just on the same day, but at the exact same time,” the man said. “Your births coincided with the deaths of four people who showed signs of being the previous Bound Ones.”
“We were all born at the same time?” Lily thought out loud. “That would definitely bring the odds down quite a bit. Approximately two-hundred and fifty people are born every minute—at least, that’s what I remember from my nursery rotation.”
This was ridiculous. It had to be. These people clearly had some screws loose…then again, the four of them did have powers. That couldn’t just be coincidence. That same nagging, writhing feeling reared its ugly head once more. She ignored it and went on with the interrogation.
“Okay, so let’s say we are the ‘Bound Ones’,” Phoenyx said, air-quoting with her free hand. “What do you want with us?”
“The Celtic sorcerers who bound the original humans founded a brotherhood to keep an eye on the elements, to keep everything in balance, and called it the Four Corners.” He moved the fingers of his free hand over the pin on his shirt. “Dexter Mauldive, our Grand Master, convinced the High Council that it was time to put the elements back under our control, and that it would be best to put all four elements into only one vessel, making it easier to relocate them after each rebirth. He has volunteered to be the first.”
“Just how do you plan to do this?” Skylar asked.
“We have realized that we can’t just kill you, because then the elements would immediately be reborn somewhere else and we would lose them once more. Our best researchers have said that the elements must be in a sort of limbo state in order to be manipulated and placed inside a new host.”
Phoenyx swallowed hard. “Limbo state? How will you accomplish that?”
“There is currently a massive solar storm happening. In three days a very rare, very large solar flare is forecasted to explode. Our researchers say the radiation and electro-magnetism this will release will both heighten the powers of all four elements and weaken their hold to your bodies. On that day, the four of you will undergo a series of electrocution which will further weaken that hold enough for the spell to work. In order to break down your bodies even more in preparation for the ritual, we were going to starve you. This is the last time you will be fed.”
Phoenyx’s heart pounded wildly and the hand she grasped him with was trembling and dripping cold sweat. Holy shit, this was so much worse than anything she could have imagined in her head. The prospect of being killed was already bad enough but to find out that they were going to be starved an electrocuted? This was a goddamn nightmare!
She sensed Lily was crying. Like hell she was going to let this happen to them!
“What’s your name?” she asked, her steady voice disguising the panic and anger she felt.
“Lucas,” he answered. She noted to herself how creepy it was that, even as he told them about all the horrible things that his cult planned for them, he still gawked at her like a horny gorilla.
“Lucas, you have to bring us that key and get us out of here,” she commanded, pushing her will into him with everything she had. “At all costs but be discreet about it. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” he said, almost like a moan of pleasure.
She released his arm. “Now go, and hurry!”
He nodded eagerly, moved the last brown paper bags closer to the cells, and left the room.
Now that he was gone, the room was dead silent, except for the loud banging of Phoenyx’s heart. No one spoke for a very long moment. Finally a sniffle escaped from Lily. Phoenyx instinctively turned and put her arms around Lily, inviting Lily to stop holding it in and her tears soaked into Phoenyx’s already quite dirty shirt. Phoenyx had no words to comfort her with this time. If Lucas didn’t come back to free them, they would die.

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Blood Obsession by L.E. Wilson – Review

Title: Blood Obsession

Author: L.E. Wilson
Series: Deathless Night
Book: 3
Format: Paperback
Pages: 312
Rating: 1/5

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**I received this book in exchange for an honest review**

Goodreads Excerpt:
Sacrifices had to be made for the greater, bloody good.
At least that’s what vampire Aiden Sinclair kept telling himself when he woke up in an unfamiliar city, with no phone, no money, and no memory of how he’d gotten there, or why. All he wants is to get back to Seattle, and back to his job as a Hunter. But when he happens upon the lovely derriere of a cheeky witch in distress who is being hunted by creatures he finds he is all too familiar with, Aiden must make a choice: Suppress his fears and be with the girl? Or embrace the truth and save them all?

This book just lacked all substance. The characters were all one dimensional and were driven by nothing other than their own desires and selfish whims. Aside from that, none of them were even remotely likable. I’m not even convinced that there was a plot. The book moved in a seemingly stiff way, with the characters just moving from one spot to another and learning small, pointless details that didn’t fit together well. The romance was cheesy and had a Fifty Shades of Grey mixed with Twilight feel that made me cringe. Regardless of how you use the word ‘love’, it is still spelled L-O-V-E. Using it as an endearing term doesn’t mean it’s spelled L-U-V. And to top it all off, no male living in this time period should be allowed to say the word ‘poppet’ to anyone other than their daughter under the age of five. Not only did Aiden use said word on almost every page, but the way I visualized him saying it made me extremely uncomfortable.  Overall, this book was just not worth my time.
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The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos by Kristin D. Van Risseghem – Review

Title: The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos
Author: Kristin D. Van Rissegham
Series: Enlighten
Book: 1
Format: Paperback
Pages: 260
Rating: 3.5/5

25168166**I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review**

Zoe Jabril’s life completely changes when she finds out her best friend is an angel. Things get even stranger when it turns out he was sent to be her guardian angel. Zoe is the supposed Redeemer, meant to keep the devil at bay, but meant to bring about Armageddon in the process. Only Zoe can stop the end of the world from happening. If she’s the Redeemer, she will take on her true form when she turns 18, sprouting wings and taking on her angel form. It doesn’t help that, along with the weight of the world, demons are trying to kill her at every turn and her feelings for the nephillim, Shay, are amplified beyond anything she’s ever felt before. Can Zoe overcome her feelings and do what she needs to before the devil is released? Or is Armageddon hopeless to stop?

I found that this was a quaint, fast read. The story had a good flow and made me want to keep reading. I can’t help but note, though, that every guy in this book is model-like and charming. I understand that 2/3 of the guys are of some angel form, but you have to draw a line at some point. While I love Shay, he’s simply too open. I respect it, but even nephillim guys can’t be that willing to be open about their feelings. Other than that, the relationship between Shay and Zoe is adorable and I ship them so hard. The music references threw me off a little. I was willing to let it by with Glad You Came by The Wanted, but I draw a line at One Direction. Guys aren’t usually open about stuff like that, especially to the point where they admit to having their emotions take over when listening to a certain song, it just threw me off. I liked this book, but it focused more on relationships and talking about Armageddon rather that actually trying to stop it. If there’s a whole new world opened up to a completely ordinary person, I want the action behind that, there was more time for talking before, now we need action! I’ll place an assumption that there’s more action in the next book. Overall, it was a lovely book and I can’t wait for the story to continue on to the next book!

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Outsiders by Tammy Ferebee – Review

Title: Outsiders
Author: Tammy Ferebee
Series: Outsiders
Book: 1
Format: Paperback
Pages: 335
Rating: 4/5

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**I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

Jaylen’s life changes when she starts attending Trinity High. Her expectations for a church school go out the window when she meets Indigo. She feels a connection to Indigo unlike anything she’s ever felt for anyone else. A sense of belonging. Indigo and Jaylen instantly become friends. But Indigo isn’t the only person Jaylen feels a connection to. Her connection to Michael is just as strong if not stronger than her pull to Indigo. But there’s clearly some bad blood between Michael and Indigo and Jaylen doesn’t know who to believe.

This was a fun, fast read. The plot moved smoothly and there was never a time when I felt like putting the book down. If there’s anything I love it’s relationships like Jaylen and Michael. Heartbreaking and heart warming at the same time! I love the idea of the whole “pretending to be human but really we aren’t” thing, but I feel like it wasn’t played up as much as it could have been. There was a whole opportunity to explore the culture and to ask questions, but the book focused more on human stuff with a few scattered tidbits of other-worldliness. Of course, that might just be because it’s the first book, so it’s developing the characters and all the information about the “other species” will be in future books, but I would have enjoyed just a little bit more of it in Outsiders. 

I love the incorporation of LGBTQIA+. You don’t see that a lot in books, especially in the case where all the character seemed really chill about it instead of being flabbergasted. But even so Indigo made me quite mad at times and by the end of the book I was thoroughly convinced that she’s slightly mentally unstable. Michael was by far my favourite character. He just seemed so at ease all the time and every scene with him and Jaylen together just made me want more. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2 when it comes out!

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The Whispers of the Fallen by J.D. Netto – Review

Title: The Whispers of the Fallen
Author: J.D. Netto
Series: Whispers of the Fallen
Book: 1
Format: Ebook
Pages: 245 (according to my Nook)
Rating: 1/5

18399878I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Isaac and Demetre are simple farm boys. They help their village and their parents on a daily basis, harvesting, planting, and anything they can do to help. Until one day when they both wake up to find their parents missing. Turns out that their parents are a part of a group of people that protect a diary. A diary written by the devil. Their lives go from simple to complicated and in a work with angels and demons, no one is really safe.

I followed the author J.D. Netto on Instagram long before I read this. First off, the covers look amazing, the idea sounds unique (an angel book told in the POV of a guy…RARE!), and I felt a pull to it. It started off well enough, but I started noticing a few things that just bothered me and as I progressed through the story, it kept nagging at me and I found more and more small little problems. It began to take away from the story.

Warning: This will probably have spoilers, so if you don’t want to see that, look away now.

1. The very first thing I noticed in the dialogue is the severe lack of contractions.
These boys are farmers, they aren’t royalty or poised in any way, they should know a contraction or two. In my mind, the lack of contractions leads to the voice sounding bland and mechanical. It sounded stiff and awkward. The more I thought about it, the more I noticed it happening. For example: “What is wrong?”. Now, I might be able to accept this if it was an exclamation, but in normal conversation, I would think someone with Isaac’s background would say “What’s wrong?” or “What happened?”. Another example: “‘It does not look so bad,’ I said in a cheerful tone”. It sounds too formal for a farm boy and happened consistently throughout the novel.

2. The use of “us” and “our” for things that Isaac alone knows he’s feeling.
This one isn’t that big of a deal. It’s mainly me focusing on the smallest, most pointless detail ever, but it bothered me for some reason. I can’t find an example straight from the text, because I forgot to bookmark one, but there was a time when Issac said something along the lines of “It made us feel safe” or “It unsettled us both” in times where they never talked to each other about their feelings and Isaac couldn’t possibly know that Demetre felt that way. Like I said, though, just me nitpicking.

3. The use of “now” and “this”.
I don’t even know if this is technically grammatically incorrect, but in a past tense book, I don’t expect to see this. For example: “I had never heard of the Kingdom of Mag Mell, but right now the only thing that concerned by was leaving”. By saying ‘right now’, to me it indicates that it’s really happening right now, not in the past, so I don’t think that fits. I forgot to mark an example for ‘this’ as well, but it’s something like “This tower is tall and obviously showed it’s age”. That’s an awful example, but it’s the best I could think up. It makes me think the narrator is literally looking at the tower, not looking back on it. As a bonus for this, I also found a part that used ‘these’ in a place I didn’t think fit. “I suppose they were paying tribute to these two beings”. I don’t know if this is technically incorrect either, but maybe if ‘these’ was replaced with ‘the’ instead it would make more sense.

4. The characters are emotionless and flat.
Issac’s life is literally thrown away and he gets all this information thrown at him, but he just doesn’t care and he goes along with it. If I was put in that situation, I would ask a few more questions, not just blindly throw trust to people I don’t know! At some point, Demetre gets killed and Isaac watches completely stone-faced as his best childhood friend gets murdered. No tears, no emotion, just nothing. How awful is that?

I wanted to like this book, really I did, but even without the grammatical stuff that I was overly focused on, the story just lacked the kind of emotion and adventure that I need in a book like this. There was too much description for little things and too little description and explanation for things I really wanted to know about. The character’s flatness just caused me to not care about any of them. When Demetre died, I felt nothing, because there was nothing to feel, we never get an emotional connection to the characters and in books, that’s very important.

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Instinct by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Review

Title: Instinct
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Chronicles of Nick
Book: 6
Format: Hardback
Pages: 368
Rating: 4/5

21944038Nick’s in a great mood. There’s no one out to kill him, no one is dying, and it seems like a perfect normal day where he can pose as a perfectly normal human having a perfectly normal life. For an hour maybe. That is, until an omen of death that only Nick can see goes flying through his school hallway. All of a sudden, Caleb falls ill, which is impossible for demons. Everything comes crashing down at once. Nick’s mother disappears and he begins to realize that the people he held closest to him are lying to him almost constantly. He doesn’t know who to trust or who will betray him. And with his new Malachai powers barely under control, will Nick be able to save everyone with his best friend out of commission and his slippery grip on sanity?

I didn’t think this was a particularly spectacular book. I absolutely adore the Chronicles of Nick books, I think they’re interesting and full of interesting lore, but this one didn’t catch my attention as much. Best part of this book by far – Malachai Nick. The fact that he can lose control any second and completely destroy the world is awesome, but when he uses his power to save his mother and his friends, I love it. Nick almost dies about twice and it had me freaking out both times. The first time was a little sudden and was never really explained, but the second time…phew! Overall, though, I still think this is a great book, full of action and everything I love in a book, but not as outstanding as the others. Here’s to hoping for more Malachai Nick!

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Angelfall by Susan Ee – Review

Title: Angelfall
Author: Susan Ee
Series: Penryn and the End of Days
Book: 1
Format: Paperback
Pages: 284
Rating: 5/5

24936921Devastatingly heartbreaking and intense, Angelfall is the one angel book that everyone needs in their life. The second I picked up this book, I couldn’t put it down. When I finished it, I knew this was going to be going on my favourites list.

Penryn Young is exhausted. Day and night, she juggles keeping her wheelchair bound sister and her paranoid schizophrenic mother alive when the angels attack. When they get caught up in an angel skirmish on the streets, Penryn gets separated from her mother. She witnesses an angel lose his beautiful white wings and helps him fend off his attackers. All seems calm when one of the angels comes back in steals her sister out of her wheelchair. Survival becomes a rescue mission. Penryn teams up with angel Raffe, who hopes to get his wings reattached, in order to sneak into angel territory and get her sister back. Angels are then enemy, but Raffe seems almost different. He’s kinder and more thoughtful, but is he really different? Or is he just pretending for his own personal gain?

Susan Ee was born to torture me with her wonderful stories and her amazing characters that make me feel obsolete. Raffe. I cannot stress my love for that sarcastic asshole enough. And can we talk about how when Raffe first meet, before they even know each other’s names, he smiles at how funny she is when she acts like he weighs a ton. That is so cute and no one can convince me otherwise. But then, all of a sudden he wakes up and tries to kill her and sitting there reading as if I could actually reach through the pages and slap some sense into him. There are just some times where I’m wondering “RAFFE WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” and then sometimes I had to set the book down and curl up because aww cute. And then “I don’t even like you.” and I’m dead. Don’t even get me started on how they can’t be together because that would result in Raffe being sent to Punishment and possibly a Nephilim, it just breaks my heart. They so obviously belong together and it makes me so mad. The ending made me want to throw the book at the nearest wall. Luckily, I purchased book two when I got book one, so I’m going to do something I don’t do often and read the second book instead of reading what I planned to read next.

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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke – Review

Title: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Series: Between
Number: 1
Format: Paperback
Pages: 360
Rating: 4/5

18693883I can honestly say that this was one of the most thought provoking books I think I’ve read in quite a while. It’s also one of the first where I found myself disagreeing with the love interest (if you could call it that).
What would you do if you could make people see things, feel things? Would you use your power for good, spread joy and happiness? Or would you use it for vengeance and evil? Would you let it consume you? Or would you be strong enough to remain yourself?
I found myself asking myself many of the same questions. When I first started reading, I was kept thinking this book talks about the devil a lot…makes sense. I bet this is all about the devil being real. 
I’m not sure if I’m right. The book quickly introduced mystery boy, River, into the mix. Naturally, I automatically assume he’s the love interest, because that’s just what happens. He’s mysterious, he’s handsome, he’s funny, he’s rich, and he’s basically the perfect love interest, right? Wrong. One thing that really got me was the way Violet (the main character) was able to shrug off all the red flags surrounding our mystery boy. Due to spoilers, I won’t say too much, but River is an avid liar, which is usually a warning signal in every sense of the word, when bodies start piling up and things in the small town of Echo start to get darker, you would think someone would take a hint. Not to mention Violet slept in his arms without even knowing him a full day. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of their relationship, I just hated how blind Violet made herself to his faults. She asked questions, he dodged them, but they always ended up sleeping next to each other anyway, because how much does it really matter that you know a person? Apparently in Violet’s world it doesn’t. It even got to the point where River was making Violet do things, but clearly that’s not much of a red flag either.
Honestly, the ending is what finally made me realize that I truly liked this book. It was intense and it made me so mad, but I’ll leave that to the reader to sort out. All in all, I will certainly have to get my hands on the second book.