Pride Month- YA Books

 

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June is Pride Month! There are so many books out there that represent and shine a light on the LGBTQIA+ community. Throughout the month of June, I will be doing a series of posts dedicated to these reads and more! For this first post, I have comprised ten Young Adult (YA) books that feature LGBTQIA+ characters. Check them out. And remember that love is love!

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“What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President of the United States, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with an actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex/Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.
Heads of the family and state and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: Stage a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instagrammable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the presidential campaign and upend two nations. It raises the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to ben? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? , how will history remember you?”

 

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“Told in two distinct and irresistible voices, Junauda Petrus’s bold and lyrical debut is the story of two black girls from very different backgrounds finding love and happiness in a world that seems determined to deny them both.

Trinidad. Sixteen-year-old Audre is despondent, having just found out she’s going to be sent to live in America with her father because her strictly religious mother caught her with her secret girlfriend, the pastor’s daughter. Audre’s grandmother Queenie (a former dancer who drives a white convertible Cadillac and who has a few secrets of her own) tries to reassure her granddaughter that she won’t lose her roots, not even in some place called Minneapolis. “America have dey spirits too, believe me,” she tells Audre.

Minneapolis. Sixteen-year-old Mabel is lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out why she feels the way she feels–about her ex Terrell, about her girl Jada and that moment they had in the woods, and about the vague feeling of illness that’s plagued her all summer. Mabel’s reverie is cut short when her father announces that his best friend and his just-arrived-from-Trinidad daughter are coming for dinner.

Mabel quickly falls hard for Audre and is determined to take care of her as she tries to navigate an American high school. But their romance takes a turn when test results reveal exactly why Mabel has been feeling low-key sick all summer and suddenly it’s Audre who is caring for Mabel as she faces a deeply uncertain future.

Junauda Petrus’s debut brilliantly captures the distinctly lush and lyrical voices of Mabel and Audre as they conjure a love that is stronger than hatred, prison, and death and as vast as the blackness between the stars.”

 

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“In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults.”

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“When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.”

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“Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting–working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating–no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).

When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.”

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“Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.”

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“Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.”

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“Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together…and they’re not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! Not only is it the second title launching in our new BOOM! Box imprint but LUMBERJANES is one of those punk rock, love-everything-about-it stories that appeals to fans of basically all excellent things.”

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“I masquerade in makeup and feathers and I am applauded.

A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen – then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers – to show ourselves to the world in bold colour.”

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“All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.”

Have you read any of these books? What other YA books would you recommend? 

June TBR

June is here and that means it is time for a new TBR list. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that I am a complete mood reader so this list may change at the drop of a hat.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what good reads June has in store. ❤

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What’s on your June TBR?

May Wrap-up

We have made it through the month of May. It has definitely been a stressful month. I was able to escape a bit  through books and television ( How to Get Away with Murder and King of Queens, I thank you lol).

I’ve read fourteen  books this month. They were

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The Invitation by Ashley Antoinette –5 stars

Carter Boys 3 & 4 by Desiree- Full review to come

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson- 5 stars

Sugar, Butter, Flour, Love by Nicole Falls- 4 stars

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn- 2.5 stars ( I’m still trying to digest this one lol)

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo- 4.5 stars

More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth– 4 stars

The Gilded Ones by  Namina Forna– 5 stars

Madjesty Vs Jayden by T. Styles- 4 stars

Living Single 3,4,5, 6 by K. Yvette- Full review to come

I did not finish (DNF) two books this month.

Get A Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert– This was my second attempt to read this book. I usually don’t attempt to push myself to read books that I put to the side but I’ve heard some good things about this book ( the second book in the series, “Take a Hint, Dani Brown, releases  June 23rd by the way). Sadly, I just was not able to get into it.

What Lies Between Us by John Marrs– Now this one I will definitely be giving another chance in the future. I started this after reading “ Clap When You Land” (which I loved) and had book hangover. I just could not really focus. So I set it to the side and decided to switch up genres. I do plan on reading this book in the future.

Books I Added to My Collection

Before I even get to my books acquired during the month of May… I gave into peer pressure big time! Lol. There have been so many book recommendations and so many ebook deals that I just could not resist! Do not judge me. And to a certain Facebook book club, I definitely place the majority of the blame on you lol.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Living Single 3,4,5,6 by K. Yvette

Living Single ( The Completed Series) by K.Yvette

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

He Who is a Friend by Love Belvin

More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth

The Worst Best Man By Mia Sosa

Trouble’s What You’re in by Danielle Allen

Betrayal by A. Marie

Front St. Porter by Nina

Sorry I Missed You by Suzy Krause

Happiness in Jersey by Jacinta Howard

Finding Kennedy by Jacinta Howard

Keeping Kennedy by Jacinta Howard

Sugar, Butter, Flour, Love by Nicole Falls

Higher Learning by Alexandria House

Should’ve Been by Alexandria House

**I should really make June a no buy month but I know a few of my favorite authors have hinted about some surprise releases so here’s looking at you July. **

 

How many books did you read in May? Any anticipated releases in June?

Mini Book Review + Five Thoughts I Had While Reading

I have been on a little bit of a novella kick lately. Novellas are typically short stories. Doing a quick Google search I found out that they are usually 60- 120 pages. It’s hard to review a novella without giving too much away so I decided to do mini book reviews for the novellas that I read along with a few thoughts I had while reading .

Synopsis: 

     “There are two things on Earth that Isobel Knight loves above all else—her Gamma Betty and their family bakery, Whisk. When an opportunity presents itself to place Whisk in the national spotlight as well as take home a nice chunk of cash, Isobel is in it to win it!
Travis Coleman is a former professional football player with way too much time on his hands now that he’s been made to retire after injury. Approached with the opportunity to pair up with a hometown baker and compete for the chance to win a hefty donation for his foundation, he’s almost all in. But there’s one little problem…
Travis and Isobel have had friction between them going back to their high school days, but can they set their animosity aside and keep their eyes on the prize? Or will pride keep them from walking away victorious?

My Mini Review

4/5 stars 

“Sugar, Butter, Flour, Love” by Nicole Falls was the cutest novella. The plot itself was refreshing. I love watching Food Network baking competition shows so of course I had to check this out. I loved the characters, the reality tv show elements, and the steaminess! Gam was such a lovable character. This was the first book that I have read by Nicole Falls but it definitely will not be my last.

Five Thoughts I had While Reading “ Sugar, Butter, Flour, Love” by Nicole Falls:

  1. I need to look some of these recipes up and try to recreate them. Even though it would be a baking fail!
  2. I wonder if this is similar to how Food Network operates behind the scenes.
  3. Things are really heating up! Oh la la lol.
  4. Gam is too much! Hilarious.
  5. I wonder what happens next? I need more!

Review: “More Than Enough: Claiming Space For Who You Are” by Elaine Welteroth

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Synopsis: 

“In this part-manifesto, part-memoir, the revolutionary editor who infused social consciousness into the pages of Teen Vogue explores what it means to come into your own—on your own terms.
Throughout her life, Elaine Welteroth has climbed the ranks of media and fashion, shattering ceilings along the way. In this riveting and timely memoir, the groundbreaking journalist unpacks lessons on race, identity, and success through her own journey, from navigating her way as the unstoppable child of an unlikely interracial marriage in small-town California to finding herself on the frontlines of a modern movement for the next generation of change makers.
Welteroth moves beyond the headlines and highlight reels to share the profound lessons and struggles of being a barrier-breaker across so many intersections. As a young boss and often the only Black woman in the room, she’s had enough of the world telling her—and all women—they’re not enough. As she learns to rely on herself by looking both inward and upward, we’re ultimately reminded that we’re more than enough.”

 

My Review: 

4/5 stars

     “More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are” by Elaine Welteroth had so many gems and words of wisdom throughout. I really appreciated the foreword by Ava DuVernay. While I was not at all familiar with Welteroth before reading this book, it was certainly interesting to read about her own experiences growing up as well as becoming the woman that she is today. Her stories of race and not fitting in were definitely something that I could relate to on a personal note. Actually, there were many aspects to this book that I related to. I struggle with anxiety quite a bit. I would have loved for her to touch a little bit more on how she balances it all.

There is just so much that can be taken away from this book. It is a book of self-love, empowerment, and refusing to conform to the world around us. It did have some slow moments, but I enjoyed it for the most part. This book was so easy to read, and it felt like I was chatting with an old friend while reading. I am absolutely full from this book. I feel like I need to write the quotes out and randomly post them around my house as little reminders. Overall, I felt it was a very motivational memoir that was full of life lessons.

Can’t Wait Wednesday (#2)

 

Can't Wait Wednesday

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings. The purpose of Can’t Wait Wednesday is to put the spotlight on unreleased books that I can’t wait to read. This week’s Can’t Wait Wednesday is: ” Finna: Poems” by Nate Marshall.

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Synopsis

“Dynamic poems that celebrate the Black vernacular and engage with the world through the lens of Hip Hop as well as America’s vast reserve of racial and gendered epithets–from an award-winning author and poet.

fin-na /ˈfinə/ contraction: (1) going to; intending to. rooted in African American Vernacular English. (2) eye dialect spelling of “fixing to.” (3) Black possibility; Black futurity; Blackness as tomorrow.

A lyrical and sharp celebration, these poems consider the brevity and disposability of Black lives and other oppressed people in our current era of emboldened white supremacy. In three key parts, Finna explores the mythos and erasure of names in the American narrative; asks how gendered language can provoke violence; and finally, through the celebration and examination of the Black vernacular, expands the notions of possibility, giving us a new language of hope.”

Why I Can’t Wait: 

  Language is what brings us together.Vernacular African-American English is often times frowned upon. Those who speak it are often stigmatized or looked at as not being educated.  In this book, the author aims to celebrate it versus tearing it down. This, to me, is super important. Vernacular African-American English is a language. It is part of a culture. I’m super excited to check this one out. I have the ARC and plan on reading it in either June or July.

 

Finna” by Nate Marshall releases on August 11, 2020. 

 

 

Goodreads Monday (#5)

It’s the last Monday in May. Time for a little Goodreads Monday. This segment is brought to us by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do is pick a random book off your Goodreads to-read list and highlight it! For this Goodreads Monday, I chose book one of  the  Prototype” series by Jacinta Howard. I have heard so much about this series. This would be my first book by this author.

The books in the series are:

  1. Happiness in Jersey
  2. Finding Kennedy
  3. Keeping Willow
  4. Loving Cassie

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Here is the synopsis for the first book, “Happiness in Jersey”( Prototype #1):

“The only thing in Jersey Kincaid’s world that she has time for are keeping her grades up so that she doesn’t lose her scholarship to South Texas University, playing the bass in her band, The Prototype, and satisfying her coffee addiction. Oh, and the occasional random hook-up she indulges in to pass the time.

Love? Eh, not so much. Save that crap for a Katherine Heigl or Natalie Portman movie.

Jersey’s seen enough in life (courtesy of her Pops) to realize that undying romance is nothing more than a myth used to sell books and movie tickets. As she knows too well, the only thing inevitable in life is death— love is definitely not promised.

That’s why when Jersey meets Isaiah “Zay” Broussard with his soulful gray eyes, quick wit and easy charm, she’s determined to remain aloof. She doesn’t have time to get sidetracked by fleeting fantasies, even if she does feel an unexplainable connection to Zay she’s never experienced before.

But when his interest in her only seems to intensify, despite her attempts to brush him off, she gets to see a side of him and herself she didn’t expect…”

                                       I think I will add this to my June TBR. 😊