Catfishing on CatNet – blog tour (review + giveaway!!)

Author: Naomi Kritzer
Publication date: November 19, 2019
Genre: young adult, sci-fi, thriller
My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Excellent queer rep. The coolest, quirkiest, most awkwardly badass AI. A ragtag team of internet friends, a road trip, a reprogrammed sex-education robot (not the AI), a literal cat…this book has a bit of everything, and it works so well. In under 300 pages, this tiny page-turner covers an impressive span of topics, with a delicate balance of fun and dread that will ring true for all of us who grew up alongside the internet.

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Master of One – blog tour (ARC review + awesome quotes)

Authors: Danni Bennett and Jaida Jones
Publication date: November 10, 2020
Genre: young adult fantasy
My rating: 4.25/5 stars

It’s no secret that I love dark fantasy, morally gray characters, queer characters, thieves and other sketchy people, sarcastic humor, and ragtag teams of misfits. So it should come as no surprise that Master of One, a book that combines literally ALL of those elements, was a huge hit for me. I laughed. I cringed. My heart twisted a few times. What starts out as the story of an irreverent thief on a mission way above his pay grade morphs into a sprawling, slow-building tale of fae, magical silver animals, evil sorcerers, corrupt monarchy, and all that other fun stuff. I’ll admit, I was a little confused at the start, but once the story really got going, I was very invested, and I’m already dying for the sequel. (Plus, huge bonus–there’s some nice physical disability rep in the book as well!)

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All or None – blog tour (feat. some cool quotes)

Author: Aurora Lee Thornton
Publication date: August 2020
Genre: adult, fantasy

Hello, friends! It’s your friendly neighborhood K-Specks, coming to you with another blog tour. This is my first time working with Caffeine Book Tours, so huge thank you to them for allowing me to be a part of this. On the docket for today: a self-published, super-queer, #OwnVoices high fantasy. It’s got demisexual characters. It’s got polyamorous soulmates (yep, you read that correctly). It’s got trans characters, gay characters, lesbian characters, multiple species of humanoid creatures, magic transferred through intimacy, assassins…and that’s just the beginning. Let’s get started!

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The Dragon of Ynys – ARC review

Author: Minerva Cerridwen
Publication date: September 15, 2020
Genre: fantasy, LGBTQIA+, novella
My rating: 5/5 stars

The Dragon of Ynys - Atthis Arts Indie Publishing

In today’s divisive society, uniqueness can become a point of shame rather than pride. The Dragon of Ynys is a perfect balm to soothe everyone and anyone who feels hurt by the lack of acceptance that is often so prevalent–it will make you smile, lift your spirits, and reaffirm your belief that there is good in the world, all in the span of roughly 100 pages. I seriously cannot adequately express how much I loved this book.

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Ironspark – blog tour (ARC review)

Author: C.M. McGuire
Publication date: August 25, 2020
Genre: young adult fantasy
My rating
: 3.5/5 stars

Queer besties! Welsh mythology! Fae and magic! Adorable little shadow creatures! Ladies, gentlemen, and nonbinary pals, Ironspark is a solid urban fantasy with a lot of heart. It may not be a perfect book, but it was one I had fun with–with the exception of the ending, but hey, you can’t win ’em all, right? (Plus, there is an ace character, which, you know, is a huge plus for just about any book in my opinion.)

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The Gravity of Us – mini-review

Author: Phil Stamper
Publication date: March 4, 2020
Genre: young adult, contemporary, LGBTQIA+, romance
My rating: 3.5/5 stars

You’ve got to admit, no matter what you think of the book, that this is a gorgeous cover.

Once again, I’m finding myself in a position where I’m a little too worn out to write full reviews, but I do have thoughts I want to share on books! To that end, I present you with this mini-review of a cute, if not remarkable, queer YA contemporary (with a splash of romance, a ton of commentary on media, and a hefty dose of outer space).

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Come Tumbling Down – mini-review

Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: Wayward Children, #5
Publication date: January 7, 2020
Genre: fantasy, portal fantasy
My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Let me start this by saying that Seanan McGuire is an absolute gem. Her writing is always brilliant, and I absolutely adore all the worlds she created in this series, so I of course was looking forward to getting to further explore them in this latest installment. In fact, after Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Jack and Jill quickly became my favorite characters in the series (alongside Kade, but alas, he hasn’t gotten his own book yet). However, this wasn’t a five-star read–honestly, it’s on the lower end of the 4.5-star rating. I guess I just didn’t quite feel the same “spark” with this one that I did with some others from the series. (Was that a pun referencing the excessive lightning in the Moors? Maybe…)

Anyway, given that it is a short book, I don’t quite feel up to a full review, but here is the publisher’s blurb, followed by my thoughts in a quick bulleted list for your enjoyment/reference. Please be aware, there are some spoilers in here for the earlier books in the series, if you haven’t read them yet–though, of course, no spoilers on this particular installment!

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Audiobook review blitz – Talking to Strangers, The Brilliant Death, & The Five

Oh boy, more audiobooks! Yaaaayyyy! In lieu of a long intro, I’ll just describe them quickly and then get straight to the mini-reviews. We have, in order, a social science book about miscommunication, a super-queer YA fantasy with genderfluid and genderqueer main characters, and a thoroughly-researched book detailing the lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper.

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Mooncakes – review

Author: Suzanne Walker (author), Wendy Xu (artist)
Publication date: October 22, 2019
Genre: graphic novel, young adult, fantasy
My rating: 4 / 5 stars

Queer and quirky and oh-so-cuteMooncakes was the quick, enchanting graphic novel I didn’t know I needed in my life. I finished almost all of it in a single night, and boy, was it a fun and heartwarming ride, complete with utterly charming magical creatures, adorable cats, and a super-sweet romance.

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Spilling the Tea: a rant-review of Let’s Talk About Love

Author: Claire Kann
Publication date: January 23, 2018
Genre: young adult contemporary, LGBTQ+
My rating: 1/5 stars (and I considered giving it less than that…)

I. Am. So. Mad. At. This. Book. Seriously, I am one angry ace right now. I was so excited about this book; I had seen it listed so many times in articles with lists of books featuring asexual main characters, and plenty of people had written great reviews of it on Goodreads. I should have realized early on that most of those glowing reviews were not from OwnVoices reviewers; the one highly-ranked review I saw written by someone who is actually ace was quite critical.

It became apparent that the people who praised this book were glad because it taught them about asexuality. The thing is, simply having representation isn’t enough, especially if that representation is bad. And BOY HOWDY was this representation bad. Maybe someone out there can see their feelings reflected in the story told here, but for me–based on my own experience, the experiences of other aces I know, and the little research that actually exists on asexuality–it was inaccurate, full of stereotypes, and generally just not good.

Oh, and the book itself was pretty crap as well, so before I start tackling all the ways in which the book does aces dirty, might as well discuss those problems.

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