8 Queer Books I Loved And 8 That Are On My TBR

Don’t you hate it when people answer their own question? I do. (HA see what i did there?) *groans from the audience* Aw come on lighten up, not all of us can tell brilliant jokes ok?

In other news, happy pride month!

If you’ve been around for a while, you’d know that I pretty much read queer books all year round and that’s true BUT being the opportunist I am, I couldn’t just let pride month slip by without a post on it, could I? Soo in similar pattern to my diverse books post looong back, here’s a recommendation post for queer books! All of these have lgbtq main characters with considerable focus on their relationships. Now let’s make that TBR pile taller, shall we?

Oh also! Have I inserted song lyrics with similar vibes with the books too for some reason? Why yes I have and you can’t stop me MWAHAHA

In Deeper Waters by FT Lukens: Princes, handsome mermen, pirates and an exciting sea faring adventure! Rep: m|m
🎡 To fall in love with strangers ah-ah ah-ah

Perfect On Paper by Sophie Gonzales: An anonymous dating advice service- run from a high school locker by a girl who is hopelessly in love with her oblivious best friend! Rep: bi f|m
🎡 I can make the bad guys good for a weekend

Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth: Have a problem? Aideen can solve it- in exchange for a favour. Rep: f|f
🎡 You’re turning heads when you walk through the do-o-or

The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune: Superheroes in a contemporary world sounds overused, but this gay best-friends-to-lovers will have you cackling like nothing else. Rep: m|m
🎡 I drive down different roads, but they all lead back to you

Cemetery Boys: Accidental spirit summoning? And falling in love with said spirit?? A brilliant concept with immaculate spooky vibes! Rep: m|m
🎡 If I can’t be close to you, I’ll settle for the ghost of you

Sweet and Bitter Magic: What happens when a grump and sunshine have to save the world from dark magic? Sparks fly of course. Rep: f|f
🎡 Are we out of the woods yet?

So This Is Ever After: A hilariously ridiculous Arthurian retelling which takes after your usual YA fantasy quest! Rep: m|m
🎡 I’ve been loving you for quite some time, time, time

House In The Cerulean Sea: A tired middle-aged government employee discovers purpose, family and love on his newest magical assignment! This one is going to tug at all your heartstrings. Rep: m|m
🎡 In this world, it’s just us

Flip The Script by Layla Lee: Bisexual mc fake dating her way through a Kdrama? Excuse me while I LOSE MY MIND OVER HERE.

Cafe Con Lychee: After Tweet Cute I cannot for the life of me resist anything with rival bakeries. I need lots of food descriptions ok?

Red White & Royal Blue: I’m pleased to report that the hype has finally gotten to me and I cannot put off reading this for any longer if I value my life.

Be Dazzled: Randomly came across this on goodreads and i am, dare i say, DAZZLED.

Something Fabulous: I heard “reserved duke” and “falling for the wrong sibling” and came running like-

Spin Me Right Around: Yeah time travel in contemporary hasn’t really worked out for me in the past but I’m willing to give it a second chance because I’m generous like that.

Late To The Party: Actually this doesn’t really seem any different than all the other ya contemporaries out there, but i see lots of five star reviews from my friends?? Peer pressure exists guys.

Under The Whispering Door: Down with the physical tbr! *ahem* I mean, do I know this is going to BREAK me like Cerulean Sea?? Without a doubt. Is that why I’m scared to read it in the first place? Maybe?

Favourite queer books? (i need RECS) Have you read any of these? Thoughts on them?? (also did you see i actually worked on graphics for once) (aand did you realize i may be slightly obsessed with taylor swift)

~ Rachel

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Guessing The Zodiac Signs Of My Favourite Characters

Hi! What’s up? (other than the sky of course, and perhaps the ceiling of your house)

You know how a lot of people say that their zodiac signs do not define their personalities? Well I’m definitely not one of them because I am (metaphorically, it would be a little hot otherwise) every bit raging ball of fire that the world proclaims Aries to be. I kid you not, I am an embodiment of literally each and every characteristic of Aries. Look up the traits of Aries on the internet, and you have my exact personality chalked out in front of you.

Moving on (since none of us are here to talk about me), let me try to explain the gist of today’s post to you. In a few moments we are going to be guessing the zodiac signs of certain book characters based on their personalities. The characteristics of the zodiac sign will be in bold, and later I’ll be justifying why I think that character has that sign. And there’s a slight possibility that I share quotes from that particular character, say it’s pretty self explanatory why I chose that zodiac sign and call it a day, but let’s hope that doesn’t happen, hmm?

Kavi (Not My Problem) – Gemini

“Ms. Devlin told me to come find Meabh and then I heard you both talking and it sounded so interesting and then I realized there’s a conspiracy afoot and so I listened to more and it all got very exciting and I’m sorry Meabh that your parents are so mean and your life is all busy and then I thought maybe I could push you off the stairs but then Aideen did it before I could offer and you fell down here and I picked you up so I could take you to the nurse and then you two were like Kavi, why are you threatening us and then I explained how I wasn’t and then it’s now.”

β€” Kavi “how-could-he-say-this-in-a-single-breath” Thakrar

Gemini are inquisitive with an almost childlike curiosity and often very funny. They are very sensitive and responsive listeners. They are highly entertaining and there’s never dull moment when they are around. They could talk to a brick wall if only it would listen (or even if it would not, for that matter) and they know how to bring dissimilar people together and make them get along.

Now in case you didn’t happen to notice that huge quote thingy above, i’d like to tell you that that’s exactly like our Kavi over here. He’s a major-side-character-in-a-way-that-almost-makes-him-the-main-character in Not My Problem. His monologues were the best thing that has ever happened to me. (And now I have a startling urge to share all of kavi’s monologues and just let them take over this post. But since I’d like to hold on to my dignity for a little while longer, the one that I shared above will have to suffice.) His genuine personality brightened the book. The main character once literally describes him as a “i just escaped from a bunker” wide-eyed kid. And then of course, he’s the one who brings Aideen and Meabh (the two main characters) closer, even though they had nothing in common (overachiever and underachiever duo).

_____________

Jem (The Infernal Devices) – Pisces

“I’ve never minded it,” he went on. “Being lost, that is. I’d always thought one could not truly be lost if one knew one’s own heart. But I fear I may be lost without knowing yours.

Jem “dreamy boy” Carstairs

Pisces are the ones with “soft” skills like sensitivity and intuition. Pisces tend to evade distinction. They tend to dilute themselves with larger personalities to avoid having to form coherent identities. They are dreamy, emotional and slightly detached from the external world. They are quite often absorbed in themselves. They’re romantics and prone to fantasy.

Look, Jem plays the damn violin, how could he be anything but a Pisces? wait you are expecting more explanation? Being the extremely compromising person I am, I’ll try to show you my mental image of Jem. Picture a boy with white (WHITE) hair, sitting alone in a huge empty room and playing the violin, eyes closed and utterly lost in its melody. Whenever I read his dialogue, they’re spoken in a soft, dreamy drawl in my head. And might I also mention what a hopeless romantic Jem is? Like I cannot blame Tessa for accepting his proposal (WILL THO 😭), the way he said it is enough to flatter any woman with sense.

_____________

Kaz (The Grishaverse) – Scorpio

AVENDELL β€” Kaz Brekker πŸŒ™

β€œHow do you get your information, Mister Brekker?”
“You might say I’m a lockpick.”
“You must be a very gifted one.”
“I am indeed.” Kaz leaned back slightly. “You see, every man is a safe, a vault of secrets and longings. Now, there are those who take the brute’s way, but I prefer a gentler approach – the right pressure applied at the right moment, in the right place. It’s a delicate thing.”

Kaz “i-know-all-your-secrets” Brekker

The Scorpio personality is a profound chasm of infinite complexity (or at least how they project themselves). They are difficult people to get to know. They socialize from behind a double-sided mirror, always scanning, reading you while you can only see your own reflection. They prefer to be the people asking the questions. They probe and push. They know the little things that make you tick. Your pressure points. The subtle ways to procure the answer they’re seeking. They have a ruthless view of the world. Eat or be eaten. Their knowledge of other people’s internal structures gives them an edge over the competition. They know how to play people against each other. They are intentional about the information they reveal.

NO WAY. The Scorpio description fits Kaz so perfectly i can’t evenβˆ’
I mean, it was literally written that Scorpios make perfect con artists and good brooding protagonists, and our Kaz is both of those! And convince me that “profound chasm of infinite complexity” does not mean morally grey (spoiler alert: the convincing won’t work). Kaz can see straight into your soul and can make you squirm in your seat with a single knowing glance. Woe betide the man who thinks they can outsmart him. No matter how much of him (or his dangerously smart plans) you think you know, there’s ALWAYS more.

______________

Julian (Cemetery Boys) – Aries

β€œJulian was the most alive person he’d ever met. Even as a spirit, he was bright and full of constantly moving energy. A sun crammed into the body of a boy.”

Aries live their life how they want to, no filter. They are unafraid of conflict, highly competitive, honest and direct. They throw themselves at the world eagerly and without fear. It is not rare for them to get angry and then forget why they were angry. They nearly always have strong opinions and are ready to defend them. They are spontaneous, energetic and impatient because they don’t like to waste time. They can often be impulsive and hotheaded. They don’t always have the best self-control, and often react out of emotion than from a place of clear calm-headedness.

I am Aries. Aries is Julian. Julian is me.
Yeah no, I am not exaggerating. Remember (you don’t? you should pay more attention) how I said in the beginning that I’m the typical Aries? Well so is our Julian. He’s fierce in his anger, fierce in his love. He easily gets bored and cannot stay still for the life (no pun intended) of him. He also makes impulsive and rash decisions all the time, which is part of what makes him so endearing (just me? ok).

______________

Since there’s no other way for you to know whether I guessed correctly or not, once again I implore you to go read all these gems of books asap. Or this Aries fireball might go on a warpath. Kidding. Or not.

What’s your zodiac sign? Does it match your personality? Do you agree with the pairings I made? Which other characters do you think could match with these signs? Chat with me in the comments!

~ Rachel

Recommending Books Based On Disney Movies // ft. book quotes and movie dialogues because why not

I watched Encanto the other day and I think it’s fair to say that I was, once again, blown away.

Every time, every single time I watch (or re-watch because I’m obsessed) a Disney movie, I think “This is it. This movie is going to be the first disney movie I didn’t like and that would mean I’ve finally grown out of these cheesy stories”, but needless to say that has never happened and I don’t see it happening any time soon. Disney 8093, Rachel 0. (to be fair it’s a very strong competitor and my heart betrays me every time.)

Conclusion is that I LOVE disney movies (especially the animated “family” ones that my mother says I’m too old to be watching) and will probably continue to do so for an eternity. Today I recommend you books similar to certain movies (or the other way round, since most of you have probably read more books on this list than you’ve seen the movies).

So here’s how the formatting is gonna be – one liner premises each for the move and the book, and thirdly why I paired them, with the main reasons in bold. And some book quotes and movie dialogues flying about here and there of course ;))

Big Hero 6 – We Are Not Free

Photos:: Scenes from 'Big Hero 6' - Los Angeles Times

On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your pain?

Baymax, Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6 tells the story of Hiro Hamada (a teen robotics prodigy) and Baymax (the cuddly white inflated lump in the picture, Hiro’s late brother’s healthcare provider robot) who team up to fight the masked villain who killed Tadashi (Hiro’s brother).

β€œWe’re standing on a street corner with everything we’ve ever known about to come crashing down around us.
And we’re angry.
And we’re smiling.
And we aren’t broken.”

We Are Not Free

We Are Not Free is a historical fiction told from the points of views of 14 Japanese-American teenagers just after the bombing of the Pearl Harbour, when anti-Japanese sentiments in the USA are at an all time high.

___________

Apart from the fact that both of these made me ugly cry like never before, a common theme was teens handling grief. Both start with a happy enough scene (such that it makes one almost suspicious, is this the calm before the storm), and then immediately there’s this horrifying event that changes the main character’s life drastically, as they lose what they’d always known and loved. Then the rest of the story shows the characters learning to live with their loss and moving on. Grab some tissues.

Coco – Cemetery Boys

How Pixar Made Sure 'Coco' Was Culturally Conscious - The New York Times

“If there’s no one left in the living world to remember you, you disappear from this world.”

Hector, Coco

Coco follows Miguel (an aspiring musician, but only in secret), who accidentally gets transported to The Land of the Dead (on the famous Mexican holiday “The Day of the Dead”) where he seeks the help of his deceased great-great-grandfather to return him to his family among the living and to reverse his family’s ban on music.

β€œI implore you to be more open minded, hermano. If we close ourselves off to the possibilities that lie outside of what tradition has dictated, we are destined for extinction.”

Cemetery Boys
Cemetery Boys

Cemetery Boys is about Yadriel, who while trying to prove himself to his family, ends up accidentally summoning the ghost of Julian Diaz. What follows is their adventures and misadventures as they try to solve the mystery of Julian’s death, and Yadriel’s seemingly never ending struggle with his conservative family.

___________

These two give me such similar vibes, I’ve always recommended Coco to fans of Cemetery Boys and vice versa. Both are centred around tight-knit Latinx communities and have a brilliant representation of ancient Mexican culture (especially the whole Day Of The Dead concept that I’ll never get bored of, any recs??) but that is not where the similarities end. Both stories are also about the main characters finding their true selves, even when this requires them to go against the wishes of their conservative families.

Zootopia – The Grishaverse

Did a Disney animated film really say that? If it's 'Zootopia,' prepare to  be shocked - Los Angeles Times

Judy: Nicholas Wilde, You are under arrest.
Nick: For what? Hurting your feelings?
Judy: Felony Tax Evasion.

Zootopia follows Judy Hopps, a police officer with big dreams (and she’s a bunny in case you haven’t noticed) and Nick Wilde, a con-fox who lives off trickery. They are reluctant partners in solving a grave case that has the whole of Zootopia shaken.

β€œSometimes, the only way to get justice is to take it for yourself.”

Crooked Kingdom

The Six Of Crows duology follows six dangerous outcasts on a dangerous mission with high stakes… and a even higher reward.
The King Of Scars duology, which is also set in the Grishaverse, is about a young king trying to bring together a broken nation, while also battling monsters of his own. Literally.

___________

Did I just pair one of my favourite Disney movies ever to my favourite books ever? Why, yes I did.

Nick to me seems like a blend of Kaz and Nikolai, which are two of the best characters in existence, and this makes Nick one of the best characters in existence too (wow. incredible logic rachel). I mean, look at that scene I’ve put a picture of and tell me that’s not Nikolai’s smug grin pasted on Nick’s face. Then look at that quote beside the picture and tell me it’s not something Kaz would say. See what I mean?

Plus, Judy gives me Inej + Matthias vibes, she’s a rabbit with honour and this want to do good for the people, even though she knows she’s not going to get anything back. Do you need any more reasons to just go read those four books and watch that movie? (lemme know if you do, I’ll be happy to provide a list) Missing the deadline of that 12 page geography project will be totally worth it, i promise.

Monsters University – Not My Problem

Stop being a Sullivan and start being YOU.

Mike, Monsters University
Monsters University (2013) - IMDb

Monsters University follows Mike Wazowski (an ambitious, hardworking and studious first-year at the university) and James Sullivan (the “rich dad’s kid” who relies on his family name to make it through college), who hate each other but are thrust together by circumstances.

Not My Problem

β€œI dug deep down into my empathy store and found a dried-up old raisin.”

Aideen, Not My Problem

Not My Problem is a coming-of-age contemporary about Aideen (who is funny and witty and has a million excuses for not doing PE and homework) and Meabh (the one everyone expects a lot from, also the principal’s daughter), and when Aideen solves Meabh’s tight-schedule problem by pushing her down the stairs, an friendship begins to blossom.

___________

There’s this common academic background in Not My Problem and Monster’s University – the former is set in high school and the latter in college. Both have a dash of rivals to best friends and show that friendships can be found in the unlikeliest of places (at some point, the mcs in both the movie and the book were told that the other mc is “out of their league”), The main characters couldn’t be more different than each other, yet as they get to know the other better, they discover edges of their personalities they’d never imagined. Sullivan from the movie and Meabh from the book were both pressured to live up to their family name, so that’s another similarity.

As we conclude, I’d like to remind you that regardless of whether you are obsessed with enjoy Disney movies or not (the latter is a crime I tell you, a CRIME), all of these books belong to my favourites of 2021 so you have to give them a read (i’ll haunt your dreams if you don’t) and later scream about them to me too! (also i do have some more recs in mind, so let me know if you’d like a part 2 of this post!)

Do you watch animated movies? Which is your favourite one? Any Zootopia fans here?? Do you vote for a part 2 of this post? Let me know in the comments!

~ Rachel

8 Diverse Books I Loved, And 8 That Are On My TBR!

Before I became a part of the bookish community, most of my reads were by straight white authors with likewise leads. Since then, I have become so much more aware due to lots of lovely people who promote diversity on their blogs/ booktube etc.

As an Asian myself, I understand how important it is for different cultures to be shown in books, and it is a different feeling altogether to feel represented. In the last couple of months, more than half of the books I’ve read recently are by Asian authors or have Asian characters so I am proud of how far I’ve come.

Diversity in books can mean a lot of things, but this list shall be focusing on books written by POC authors and/or having POC leads. In the first part of this post, I’ll be showcasing some of my favourite diverse reads with their highlights and in the second part, I’ll be listing diverse books which I’ve not read but are on my TBR!

I hope you have your Goodreads (or wherever you make your tbr list) open and ready, because we are starting now!

(the formatting is off in the Reader, kindly click here to read further!)

Cemetery Boys
πŸ’˜ spirits (and a certain sweet but possessive, bad boy spirit)
πŸ’˜ mexican culture
πŸ’˜ themes of identity and acceptance
πŸ’˜ fantasy with contemporary feel

The Girl Who Drank The Moon
πŸ’˜ witchy
πŸ’˜ whimsical, dreamy writing
πŸ’˜ magic running wild
πŸ’˜ multiple third person POVs

Where The Mountain Meets The Moon
πŸ’˜ talking goldfishes and lion statues
πŸ’˜ chinese folklore
πŸ’˜ dragons!
πŸ’˜ beautiful atmosphere and conclusion

We Hunt The Flame
πŸ’˜ arabia – inspired fantasy
πŸ’˜ atmospheric setting and brilliant world-building
πŸ’˜ subtle found family with lots of banter
πŸ’˜ morally grey characters

A Clash Of Steel
πŸ’˜ set in imperial china
πŸ’˜ pirates! and lost treasure!
πŸ’˜ strong woman characters
πŸ’˜ treasure island retelling

How We Fall Apart
πŸ’˜ majority of the cast is Asian
πŸ’˜ thrilling murder mystery
πŸ’˜ set in an elite prep school
πŸ’˜ secrets and rivalry and revenge

The Reader
πŸ’˜ secret society
πŸ’˜ a world where books are banned
πŸ’˜ deep and meaningful writing
πŸ’˜ pirate stories!

We Are Not Free
πŸ’˜ set during WWII
πŸ’˜ love, life and laughs amidst war
πŸ’˜ 14 POVs
πŸ’˜ heart wrenching and impactful


Here are 8 diverse books I am yet to read, but will hopefully be picking up soon!

Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations, #1)
These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1)
Jade Fire Gold
A Magic Steeped in Poison (The Book of Tea, #1)
The Gilded Ones (Deathless, #1)
Daughter of the Moon Goddess (The Celestial Kingdom Duology, #1)
Legendborn (The Legendborn Cycle #1)
The Bones of Ruin

Have you read any of these? Do you have any more diverse recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments!

~ Rachel

June TBR // I’m taking part in Whatever-a-thon!

Its been so long I took part in a readathon, I jumped at the chance when I saw Whatever-you-want-a-thon (or Whatever-a-thon for short) doing rounds on Twitter. (you can find the announcement video with all the details here).

I’m part of the team Middle Grade Monarchs, so most of the books on my TBR are going to be middle grade BUT June is also pride month, and there is a HUGE point bonus on reading lgbtq books, so I’ve tried to incorporate some of them in my TBR as well. My goal for this readathon is to read 6 books (which I think I’ll manage, but just barely), but even after removing so many books I really wanted to read, the smallest TBR I could come up with has….drumroll please….10 books! I realize that’s a lot more than my goal, but I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving any of these out. Huh, guess that just means more options for me, right? (says she who is now going to have a difficult time choosing what to read first because there’s no way she can read them all😭). My bookworm tendencies aside, lets move on to see all the amazing books I have on my June TBR!! (as always, you can click on the cover image to visit the goodreads page and add a book to your TBR as well!)

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5)
Small Spaces (Small Spaces, #1)
The House in the Cerulean Sea
Orphans of the Tide (Orphans of the Tide #1)
Believe

Cemetery Boys
Pegasus and the Fight for Olympus (Pegasus, #2)
The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, #4)
The Unbreakable Code (Book Scavenger, #2)

  • The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill
  • The House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
  • Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
  • House of Hades by Rick Riordan
  • The Blood Of Olympus by Rick Riordan
  • Orphans Of The Tide by Struan Murray
  • Pegasus And The Fight For Olympus
  • The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
  • Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
  • Believe by Julie Mathison

So that’s it. (whoa, this post is a baby compared to my usual postsπŸ˜‚) I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these books in the comments!