The TBR Book Tag

I’m always on the lookout for tags I haven’t done yet, and this one looked too fun to pass up. Created by A Perfection Called Books and Dana Square (whose blog I am blocked from as my anti-virus says it’s a ‘high risk site’ – and I don’t want to chance it although it’s probably fine – so I can’t link it) but I found it at One More.

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

Goodreads. It’s the best and easiest way for me to keep track of the books I own but haven’t read and the books that I want to get my hands on someday. All my physical unread books are also on my desk, as well as any books I want to reread before continuing the series.

I’ve been thinking about setting up a spreadsheet for them…but that seems like a lot of work for little reward. Though I am still considering it.

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

Hmm, right now I think my physical TBR is about 60/40 in favor of print books. But that’s probably going to change once I start buying books again, because eBooks are cheaper and I’m needing to watch my money. SO my Goodreads TBR will be probably 85/15 in favor of eBooks. (I’ll still buy certain authors in physical copies and ones that are close in price.)

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Very gingerly. And with much angst.

Sometimes I know exactly what book I want to read next before I finish the one I’m working on, but, more often, I stress for a day or two over what I want to read, dithering and being unable to just decide, already and I usually wind up starting about three books before finally settling on one.

Ahh, the problems only other book bloggers understand.

A book that’s been on your TBR the longest:

Well, back in November of last year, I completely cleared out my physical TBR (after much blood, sweat and tears) so I’ll go with the book that’s been on my Goodreads TBR the longest.

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The Shattered Gates by Ginn Hale

So, as much as I’ve adored the other Hale books I’ve read, I’ve had this one on my list for two years and still haven’t bought it. Mostly because it’s the start of a series of novella’s and I have every intention of buying all of them at once and reading them all together. Like $25-$30 and over 1000 pages worth. … Yeah. I’ve been scared off by my own ambition.

A book that you recently added to your TBR:

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Last book I bought was The Life of Captain Marvel (because I couldn’t decide on which Deadpool I wanted and they didn’t have the older Young Avengers) and the last book I added to my Goodreads TBR was Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria (because of the boatload of diversity and the strong friendships).

A book that’s on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover:

I have never chosen to read a book – or put it on my TBR – solely because of the cover. Sure, it’s a strong deciding factor if I look at it closer. However, I have been known to wait to buy a book to get a different cover. For example: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee is a book that I’ve been interested in for over a year, inspired by a couple of my blogging friends reading it and enjoying it a lot. I’ve been meaning to buy it, but then I saw the cover of the paperback that’s coming out later this year and…decided to wait for that cover.

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Because, really, there’s no question which one I’d rather read.

A book on your TBR that you never plan on actually reading

None. If the books there, I do actually plan to read it. Of course, sometimes I loose interest in a book, which is why I like to periodically clean off my Goodreads TBR and get rid of the books I’ve lost interest in.

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for:

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I love Cate Sebastian’s writing (historical romance) and A Duke in Disguise is her first foray into M/F romance. All her previous books were M/M and one with a non-binary love interest that uses she/her pronouns. And if anyone can convince me to read M/F romances, it’s Sebastian.

A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read except you:

The rest of the Percy Jackson series. And the rest of The Mortal Instruments series. Beyond that…I read a lot of niche books (as my brother called my reading) and that’s mostly what my TBR is populated with.

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you:

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Not exactly recommend, but everyone talks about Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and says such favorable things and… I probably should have had this as my answer to the last prompt.

A book on your TBR that you’re just dying to read:

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I had hoped I’d get Terminal Uprising by Jim C. Hines for my birthday. When that didn’t happen I thought ‘okay, I’m going to a big bookstore the first of March, I’ll buy it then.’ Only that bookstore didn’t have it. So, I really, really want to read it, but there’s no telling when I’ll finally get to.

The number of books on your (goodreads) TBR shelf:

Right now, marked as ‘want to read’ I have 127 books on my Goodreads shelf. I have another 28 marked as ‘own-unread’ with 25 marked as ‘not-yet-released.’ So… add all that up and I’ve got 180 books on my Goodreads TBR.

 

This was fun. If you’re interested in this tag, consider yourself as having been tagged!

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I (sometimes) Hate My Taste In Books

I love checking out blogs and reviews for new books. Or old books that I’ve never read. I do tend to pay a little more attention to the books that get rave reviews from many different people. Books that have either stood the test of time and remained popular or the newest, hottest thing that I keep seeing/hearing talk about drawn my attention.

I mean, if all those people loved them, surely I will too. Right?

Unfortunately, that’s not right.

So many times I’ve picked up a book that everyone and their poodle loves and I just can’t stand it. I don’t do this on purpose. I want to like the popular books. I want to be able to gush about them to all the other fans and be eagerly awaiting the sequel. I want to love the book just like everyone else, but I wind up not.

This isn’t the Hype Monster, but it is related to it. You see, I don’t go into these books hyped up. Sure, I expect to like them, but I expect to like every book I read otherwise I wouldn’t read it.

I expect all my books to be at least a three star read before I start the book, and if I’ve read more by the author, that is adjusted appropriately. Like if I’ve rated all the author’s previous work four or five stars, I expect the new book of theirs to be a four or five star read.

I don’t tend to buy into hype anymore, but when a review is describing a book that sounds perfect for me, I expect to enjoy it. I don’t expect my enjoyment to be almost directly linked to how much other people enjoyed it. (At least, I didn’t. I’m starting to now.)

I simply don’t seem to like the same things that so many other people do. I’ll look at the ratings for a series and my least favorite book will oftentimes get the highest average rating on Goodreads. Or a book I loved will get a low rating.

I don’t even plan things like this. I mean, it would be one thing if I was trying to be one of those people that hates on the popular stuff. But I’m not. I want to like the popular stuff. I want to be able to join the legions of fans and adore this super popular thing.

But I just can’t. And, sometimes that’s beyond frustrating. I mean, the books I do end up loving? Yeah, good luck finding anyone else to fan over and then I’m left out there hoping that enough people liked the book/s for the author to continue writing them.

Does this happen to you?

Most Popular Books That I’ve Read

After making a list of the most popular (based on the number of Goodreads ratings) books on my TBR, (found here) I knew that I wanted to do more lists of this type. I decided to do this on first, because I am actually really excited to see what books that I’ve read have the most Goodreads ratings. For the sake of continuity, I’m only including the books that I actually finished on this list. Also, I am leaving the seven Harry Potter books off the list, but know that they would be, in published order, books: 1 & 4 & 3 & 5 & 9 & 8 & 6.

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2,483,941 Ratings – 4.25 Average
Is it strange that I kind of forgot about this book? I mean, I’m not surprised it’s at the top of the list now that I’ve remembered it, but I wouldn’t have predicted this. No, this is not my copy and I’m not even sure I can still find it. I know I don’t want to reread it.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
2,041,518 Ratings – 4.35 Average
…I…Kind of…forgot this book, too. But, I mean, I didn’t like it anyway, so I just removed it from my brain. (Attic theory.) So…erhm, not really much to say here.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
1,643,606 Ratings – 2.24 Average
I knew this book would be towards the top of this list. I liked this book, not a lot, but enough to buy more of the series. (And have enjoyed them quite a bit.) But, I knew that this was a popular book/series so no surprise to see it here.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
1,394,995 Ratings – 4.11 Average
Hmm… Yeah, not at all surprised this book’s on the list. Not surprised it’s pretty high, either. Mixed feels about this whole series, but if that was the original cover, I might not have written it off quite so soon.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
1,254,218 Ratings – 3.88 Average
Huh. I am suitably surprised to see this on the list. Especially this high. Though, I do remember when it first came out and that it was kind of a thing that the author was young. I wonder if his writing ever improved…

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
1,176,304 Ratings – 4.22 Average
If anything, I’m surprised this book isn’t higher. Seems like everyone’s read it and everyone – except me – loves it.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
877,052 Ratings – 4.02 Average
…I wonder how many people read this book because of the movie… Anyway, didn’t like the book, liked the movie only slightly more – probably because of Dylan O’Brien.

The Adventure’s of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
669,322 Ratings – 3.90 Average
This … might possibly be the first book I ever hated. I mean, it’s just ugh. Blech. The less said about it – and why the hell it has such a high average – the better.

City of Ashes by Cassandra Claire
647,697 Ratings – 4.20 Average
Did I mention how much this series is loved and hated – sometimes I think in equal measure, by people? Anyhow, not surprised so see it here.

The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
627,478 Ratings – 4.24 Average
Can we just take a moment to appreciate the new covers this series has, because they are simply lovely. (Also, not surprised it’s here. Kind of surprised it’s not ahead of City of Ashes.)

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And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
609,885 Ratings – 4.25 Average
Let’s just say that I am very surprised to see this on the list. Very, very surprised. But, then again, this is the most popular/talked about Christie book. (Not my favorite.)

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
580,012 Ratings – 4.33 Average
I’m kind of surprised this book’s so high. I didn’t really expect any books from this series of Clare’s to show up here, because it’s not as loved as her first one. (I like this one more.)

The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan
577,829 Ratings – 4.35 Average
Once again, Clare and Riordan traveling together. So, I shouldn’t be surprised that this is here. In fact, I’m kind of not. At all.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
565,613 Ratings – 4.15 Average
First impression is that I am shocked this book made this list. Second impression is that I shouldn’t have been so shocked, because I remember the love and fans this series had/has. So…yeah.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
497,521 Ratings – 4.13 Average
(lol, don’t like any of the covers for this book. Guess this is the best of the bunch.) Shocked that this book is here. I never thought it would made the list and I had no idea it was this popular.

And there we go, the fifteen books on my read shelf that has the most ratings at Goodreads. I’ve got at least one more post like this that I want to do – only on the books with the highest average ratings, so get prepared for a lot of under-loved books!

Five Author’s Who I Won’t Be Giving Anymore Chances Too

I had two different ideas for this list and decided to combine them together into this one. Basically, this is either author’s I hit a book bad enough that I have zero interest in ever reading again, or author’s that I tried, was less than impressed and have – you guessed it – zero interest in trying again.

Also, this covers the last few years – because if I went back to all the author’s I’ve read, not only would that list be huge, but most of them would be irrelevant.

Sarah J. Maas

Books Read: Throne of Glass & Crown of Midnight

So, I fall into an odd category with this author. I loved her first book but the longer I’m away from her second, the more I hate it. (Originally reviewed for 3 stars, dropped to 2 on Goodreads and if I was the sort to keep changing my ratings, it’d be down to 1.) So, while I hated the second book, it’s more because of hearing about subsequent books in the series and her A Court of Thorns and Roses make me realize that this is so not the author for me. (Abuse = love? -Or whatever the hell this is supposed to be- No thanks.)

Jen Turano

Books Read: Gentleman of her Dreams, A Change of Fortune, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, A Talent for Trouble & A Match of Wits. (AKA: The entire Ladies of Distinction series.)

Beyond the fact that I struggle to read Christian fiction anymore – and I will not get into religion on my blog. Something I have promised myself – I would never pick up another book by this author or even buy one for my mom. Mostly because all her books that I’ve read follow the same pattern (stoic man/manic pixie dream girl romance) but also because to fit this mould, she completely assassinated a character between one book and the next.

K.J. Charles

Books Read: The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh, A Fashionable Indulgence, A Seditious Affair, A Gentleman’s Position (AKA: The entire Society of Gentlemen series) & The Magpie Lord

The Magpie Lord has rape undertones, rape overtones and is pretty much just rape-y. Also, the ‘bonus’ short story with the same couple is pretty explicitly rape. Just because too much of society thinks ‘a man cannot be raped’ does not mean that’s in any way accurate. And, as a prolific M/M author, Charles should know better. On an unrelated note, I also enjoyed every book of hers that I read significantly less than the previous one.

Elise Kova

Books Read: Air Awakens & Fire Falling (dabbled in Earth’s End just enough)

So, let me take you through the budding romantic relationship in the first three books. He and she are friends. The build each other up, and support each other and are there for each other. It grows into a romantic connection. Their situation makes it difficult, but it’s worth it. Then he calls her a ‘whore’ and a ‘slut’ because she’s spending too much time with his brother. Even accusing her of sleeping with both brothers and then going after their father because she’s ‘had both brothers.’ This, folks, is the endgame romance. Think about that for a moment and tell me that this is how women should respect themselves.

Charlie N. Holmberg

Books Read: The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician & The Master Magician (AKA: The entire The Paper Magician series)

While I had some of my usual problems with a disappointing, lackluster finale to a series with this one, the real deal breaker was the romantic relationship and how it was handled. While for the first two books it kind of fell in the ‘hot for teacher’ group, the third book saw them getting together. While the age difference itself didn’t bother me, the obvious power imbalance, her basically turning into his housekeeper/cook/maid/assistant, and the fact that it easily destroyed her personality all did.

 

While I do have more authors that belong on this list, I figured that five was a good place to stop. Maybe sometime later I’ll add a few more and do another list. How about you? What authors are you done with?

February Wrap-Up

It’s the end of another month and I have gotten nothing accomplished. For all that, though, this month has been pretty good. My birthday was this month and I did nothing. Well, besides bake my own cake and frost it. It was nice. I actually had an excuse for how lazy I wanted to be. Also, some of the new supplements I’m taking are kicking in and I feel less stressed and anxious all the time. It’s still there, but now I can actually relax occasionally, too. Hopefully this will only get better over time.

I also…Well, I have a bit of a writing project I’m working on. I don’t feel comfortable telling anyone about it just yet (it’s still in it’s early stages) but the free time I’ve had that I would usually spend reading has went to planning. So, another month that I read less than I would have liked. (Kind of a good news/bad news because I am in the middle of two books, but I’ve been in the middle of those books for over a week.)

We (me, my mom and my brother) are planing on going shopping in the city on Saturday and even though I so don’t need to, there’s a couple books I’m hoping to buy up there. We’ll see if the bookstore actually has them, because they have little of what I read.

What I ReRead This Month

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What I Read This Month

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What I Watched This Month

I actually did manage to wrap up a couple of shows – though they left me very disappointed. I watched season 4 – the final season – of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and … I mean, I like the show, but this season, wear was showing. The characters weren’t learning from past mistakes and just either repeating them or not growing and developing. (Which I think is kind of the danger of comedy shows that rely on people being oblivious or unintelligent.) Also don’t really care for the ending of the show. I do think it needed to end.

I also watched season four – which is also the final season – of The Librarians. … Do you hear the crickets. I mean, this was one of my shows – but everything felt off about season four. It’s no surprise to me that it was canceled/ended after that season. Especially with that ending. Such a huge disappointment. (I mean, like the last five minutes, because, otherwise, that last episode was doing it’s best to remind me why I loved the show.)

Music & Games

Zip, zilch and nada.

No, that’s not completely fair. I’ve not been playing many games, but I have been listening to and researching music. Mostly for my writing project because I’m going to make playlists. Copious playlists. Like a playlist for ever person and ever relationship and ever location and …. yeah. Music. And it’s been really great because I’ve been getting to expand my music library into things I don’t often listen to and there’s little I love more than discovering new music.

Well, I hope everyone had a great month and I’ll see you next month.

The Recent Spate of Trans Shapeshifter ‘Superheroes’

(Includes minor spoilers for Dreadnought by April Daniels spoilers for Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee and possible spoilers for Feeder by Patrick Weekes. (I’ve not actually read Feeder, so basing my comments off a few reviews.))

Sometime back, I heard that there was a trans superhero story coming out: Dreadnought, young Danielle being trapped in the body of ‘Daniel’ with parents who didn’t understand her and in a society that would probably misgender her if she came out trans.

I was excited for the book, read it and liked it quite a bit. Although there was a bit of an issue I had. You see, when Danny gets Dreadnought’s powers, her body changes. In fact, everyone that has ever had Dreadnought’s powers body probably changed. You see, their body becomes the idealized version of themselves – what each ‘Dreadnought’ secretly (or not so secretly) wants their body to be.

So, Danny’s body becomes that of a girl. Sure, from then on Danny has to deal with crappy parents, transphobic and misogynistic society and people. But she’s as she wanted to be: always knew she should be, physically.

Okay. Not perfect. But okay.

Then I read Not Your Sidekick and met Bells, one of two BFF’s to the main character, and a young trans-man. His family sounded supportive, but he was young and from what I gather they weren’t wealthy, so he hadn’t started to transition.

At some point, offscreen as we stay in Jess’ (the main girl) head the entire story, Bells gets the ability to shape shift. Literally. I’m not sure how strong his ability is, as he can do something small like change his hairstyle and keep the appearance there all day, and Jess notes that he’s looking a bit bulkier in the arms and broader in the chest. (And he, apparently, quit wearing his binder.) All of which would make me believe that the closer he keeps to his original appearance, the more/longer he can shape shift.

If I had to guess, I’d say that Bells is able to change his appearance enough to be physically male, though without changing his features.

Okay. I like Bells. I do. Starting to notice a pattern here, though.

Now, I introduce you to Feeder. If my sources are correct, Maya is a trans-woman with the ability to shape shift. Into anything/anyone, apparently. And is almost constantly in the body of a woman. Until it is revealed to her crew that she’s trans (from the way it sounds, it probably says something like ‘male’ on her birth certificate and that’s how the ‘reveal’ happens) and then she is left scrambling trying to explain.

I like seeing trans characters in spec fiction – but…why does it have to be like this? I mean, why are the only two trans superheroes that I’ve read about, both able to change their physical appearance?

I could almost understand it if it were trans authors doing this – at least then I’d read it as wish fulfillment (which, after all, is what a lot of books are) – but if this is cis authors, I have this terrible knee-jerk reaction that, even if they mean the best, they are trying to ‘fix’ the trans character.

Either way, I feel it’s not the ideal representation and I would love you guys if you leave me some spec fiction book recs with trans characters that can’t shapeshift.

Top 5 Love Interests I Would have Dumped

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday. Over at the group, this topic is said much nicer as Love Interests You Would Have Broken Up With – but I’m feeling particularly vindictive to these love interests.

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Brody from UnEnchanted by Chanda Hahn

Brody is an entitled little rich boy who thinks his parents money allow him to stalk a girl, steal her backpack to force her to take a car ride with him, and then proceeds to keep her locked in the car, even when she tells him to pull over and let her out. He has anger management problems and literally victim blames the main girl (his love interest) for getting attacked. Ladies and gentlemen, our first bachelor, Brody! Isn’t he a catch? (He should be caught by that restraining order.)

Mal from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Ah, Mal, the friend half of the love triangle. So, we’d all be forgiven in thinking he was to be the sweet boy. The nice boy. The boy that paid attention to his best friend all along, even before she ‘became pretty.’ Well, we’d also be forgiven for, apparently, getting the wrong book, because this best friend is none of those things. Though what he is, is a worthless slug. So, ladies and gentlemen, slug – I mean bachelor number two: Mal.

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Katya from The Pyramid Waltz by Barbara Ann Wright

Katya is a real catch here, folks. Not only goes she threaten – ostensibly jokingly – suicide if her love interest doesn’t join her for dinner, she lies to her and then can’t figure out why she isn’t trusted to control every little aspect of everything. Ever. But she also is so romantic as to directly refer to her love interest as a ‘Prize Pony’. *slow clap* Ladies and gentlemen, bachelorette number 3: Katya. Choose her before she’s snapped up.

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Lucien from The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles

Lucien, not to put too fine a point on it, is a rapist. The only time he comes close to getting consent, it’s when his love interest is upset and not really in a frame of mind to give true, un-influenced consent. But, you know what? Lucien’s such a great guy that in the ‘bonus’ short story at the end of this book he has sex with his love interest even while his love interest is saying ‘stop.’ Bachelor number 4, ladies and gentlemen: Lucian, for those that want to date a man that feels he’s owed sex and your body.

Leah from Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Girls, if you’re question your sexuality, Leah is the girl for you! Not only will she call you a ‘fucking hetero’ but this self-entitled girl will also belittle your interests and degrade you. Ladies and gentlemen, bachelorette number five: Leah. Hard to see why she’s still single!

 

…Okay, even through the ranting, because of how I did it, I kind of had fun with this post. Please let me know what love interests you’d dump. Or break up with. Or – as I probably should have titled this ‘nope, never gonna happen!’

Top Ten LGBT+ Inclusive Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads

Hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. As much as I love these type of prompts, they are getting more and more difficult – probably because we last did one in September. (Previous TTT: Hidden Gem YAHidden Gems Read in 2016 (approx.) & Under 2000 Ratings on Goodreads.)

So, lately I’ve been reading a lot of – almost exclusively – books with LGBT+ rep, I decided to focus on that today. These won’t be books where a LGBT+ friend is mentioned, but books with major (main character major) representation. (Also, a lot of these will probably be romance-y and I will try to diversify the list whenever possible. (Like by choosing POC over whites whenever possible and choosing something besides just gay rep all the time.)

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Heart of Steel – Anthology

This is a collection of mostly lesbian short stories. In the first five stories, we also get a blooming F/F/M poly triad, trans rep, a group that reads as genderfluid, as well as a straight asexual – possibly aromantic – marriage. Just pretend the sixth and seventh stories do not exist because while they are still filled with F/F – they are also filled with unhealthy relationships and dirty cheaters.

Coral Bones by Foz Meadows

(I wholeheartedly recommend this author’s fantasy duology, as well. And there’s a whole boatload of good rep in it.) This retelling/expansion on Shakespear’s The Tempest features feminism and two characters that are genderqueer and is an absolutely delight to read.

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The Doctor’s Discretion by E.E. Ottoman

Probably my favorite book by this author so far – though his steampunk style romances are lovely, too. Besides one of the main characters being a black doctor in 1831 New York City, it also has prominent trans characters and issues that both would face historically. It is also super sweet.

His Quiet Agent by Ada Maria Soto

This is such a fun, cute, sweet little book. The main character is possibly begging to identify as demisexual while the ‘love interest’ is most likely a sex repulsed asexual – that shows strong signs of not being into kissing or cuddling, though I wouldn’t categorize him as aromantic. There is no steam at all in this story, not even a single kiss, but has one of my all time favorite declarations of affection.

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The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz

This is a cute little lightly sci-fi short story about an asexual lesbian that falls in love with a robot. Or is that a robot that falls in love with an asexual lesbian? Anyway, it is a sweet, cute little story.

Venturess by Betsy Cornwell

I am totally going to give away spoilers for Mechanica, but this is a F/F/M open poly triad. I mean, I’d tell you to go into it this duology without knowing that – as I did and was totally thrilled with the development – but I’ve heard too many complaint about it. But, man, it just works between these three so well. (And how unusual for YA is this?!)

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Spy Stuff by Matthew J. Metzger

I’ve always had a difficult time describing this book, but I guess I’ll say it’s a trans coming of age story. And this is a story that talks a lot about what it means for the main character being trans. (Probably because it is also #OwnVoices.) Also, we get a totally un-dramatic ‘I’m bi’ realization from a boy that previously thought he was straight.

A Hole in the World by Sophie Robbins

Totally cheese-y, cute and silly story about a princess that’s attracted to her own gender and the very female ‘prince charming’ from our world that rescues her.

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Unmasked by the Marquess by Cat Sebastian

This was Sebastian’s first foray into non-M/M romances and she had yet another winner. (My current second favorite book of hers.) It features a non-binary character that looks like a women but is disguised as a man to facilitate the wedding of her best friend. It is delightful and somewhat complicated and just wonderful.

A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian

Features a black former prize fighter and a broken former kept man. (Also families of choice.) This is my favorite Sebastian book, but fair warning that former coerced consent plays a large part in discussions and influences a lot in this story.

 

So, there’s my list. Would you like to add any, because I would love to get some recommendations! (And, yes, if you know me, you had to have known that there’d be two Sebastian books on this list.)

Top 5 Favorite Independent Ladies

Hosted at the Goodreads group: Top 5 Wednesday. Kicking butt and taking names since 2008. *cough* No clue where that came from. Anyway, I saw this topic for today and got so excited. As the Goodreads group says: ‘Favorite leading ladies who aren’t distracted from getting shit done by their love interest’. (They also say that this will be subjective, but shhh.) (Also, to be fair, I only went with stories where we spend a significant amount of time in the leading lady’s head.)

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Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff

I cannot recommend this series enough and, even better, in this first book, our leading lady Torin Kerr doesn’t have any romance interests. (Though she wakes up in an alien’s bed as our first introduction to her. Which, is kind of awesome anyway.)

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

Very unique sci-fi book with amazing world-building. The leading lady, Kel Cheris, doesn’t have a love interest in this book (though I’ve not finished the series yet) but several remarks lead me to believe she is bi or pan. In fact, I’d put money on the default sexuality in this world being bi or pan.

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An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows

While I would call Saffron Coulter the leading lady – and she does get a girlfriend – this could also fit Zech, Viya and Gwen (the latter who is aromantic and in a poly relationship). This is honestly an excellent book and I want everyone to read it, anyway.

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Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

Come on, you guys knew this book would be here. Our leading lady is Freya and if she was a contemporary girl, she’d be part of STEM. She conducts chemistry experiments. She solves a mass murder. Yeah, she has a love interest, but that’s not what’s important to her. (Or us, honestly.)

The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines

I’ve never been sure who our leading lady in this series was. Danielle – married to prince charming, though still kicking butt – or Talia – lesbian and in love with a close friend – or Snow – a total flirt with all the men. But, either way, they are all so awesome and any – slight – romance subplot is just that. A subplot as these three ladies save the world.

 

So there are five books that have some awesome leading ladies that don’t get distracted by romance and can still totally save the day. (And I could have easily done ten or fifteen more.) What independent leading ladies are your favorites.

Top Ten Couples From Books I Read in the Last Two Years

Hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. So, today’s topic is top ten bookish couples – but I know I did this before. I figure limiting this to 2017 and 2018, I should – hopefully – not be listing couples I’ve already listed. (Also, in no real order except rever read order, which means the older reads are probably at the top and the more recent reads are at the bottom.)

 

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Starflight by Melissa Landers

Couple: Solara/Doran

This is a delightful enemies to lovers (which I don’t usually love) YA romance in space. Solara and Doran are both more than what they first appear to be and have such a lovely, verbal/bantering relationship building between them. They do, however, get off on the wrong foot, but things smooth out very quickly I think.

Earthrise by M.C.A. Hogarth

Couple: Reese/Hirianthial

This book – among all the space adventure and found family feels – shows two rather…standoffish people falling in love. It’s sweet and cute and totally fluffy. (The romance, anyway. The space adventure can get kind of hairy occasionally.) (Also, one is a POC and the other is a space elf.)

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Ella, the Slayer by A.W. Exley

Couple: Ella/Seth

If Cinderella were a katana wielding zombie slayer and the prince was actually a duke that loved little more than to fight right along side her. This is a true romance of equals and one of the best/healthiest couples I’ve ever come across. Much less in YA.

Venturess by Betsy Cornwell

Romance: Nicolette/Caro/Fin

Yes, you read that right! This is an open poly triad. In a YA steampunk/fantasy story. About, once again, Cinderella. Honestly, I just love this trio so much and they fit together so well and…*sigh* I want more poly in books. (Actual poly, not just sex.)

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A Hole in the World by Sophie Robbins

Couple: Bianca/Alexandra

With this book, I didn’t know where to turn my attention: the awesome group of friends, or the solid pair of girls who really are just friends, or the blossoming romance – because all are so awesome. (Warning: this book is very Not to be Taken Seriously.)

Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch

Couple: John/Soren

I have a special place in my heart for book where the couple are emotionally vulnerable with each other – and this book does it in spades. Also, they both so obviously care about each other – and other people – that it’s just lovely to see.

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A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian

Couple: Hartley/Sam

While I love the couple, how much they work to overcome together and really work on building something that would last, I must make special mention of the fact that this book is probably the most aware of any book I’ve ever read of consent. There is no ‘non-verbal consent’ or ‘silence means yes’ crap. They talk, discuss, negotiate. And it is breathtaking.

Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman

Couple: Clara/Danielle

A couple that gets together over their love of fanfiction and pickles. Anyway, totally adorable and sweet and cute. (Everything is soft and nothing hurts so expect no angst in this short story.)

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Couple: Audrey/Thomas

Another book with a strong emphasis on equal partners. These two banter and flirt, but truly respect the other, which makes it a joy to read.

The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars

Couple: Korra/Asami

I’m totally cheating. Get over it. Any list of favorite couples has to include Korrasami until the end of time. That is all. (Though, I do have a special appreciation for Varrik/Zhu Li.)

And there’s ten couples that I adore. And love. And want to read more about. Who are your favorite couples?