Required reading: Top ten LGBTQIA+ books for a newbie

Like always this meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Go and take a look at their blog!

The following books are nice starting points to get into LGBTQIA+ books.

You will find YA, NA and adult books as well as f/f and m/m pairings. Trans* and asexual characters are represented as well. And last but not least you can pick between contemporary and historical novels.


My review

Nineteen-year-old Claire Pearson knows she needs a life. And some new friends.

But brittle, beautiful, and just a little bit too sassy for her own good sometimes, she no longer makes friends easily. And she has no clue where to start on the whole finding a life front, either. Not after a confidence-shattering year dogged by bad break-ups, friends who have become strangers, and her constant failure to meet her parents sky-high expectations.

When Robbie and Mia walk into Claire’s work they seem the least likely people to help her find a life. But despite Claire’s initial attempts to alienate them, an unexpected new friendship develops.
And it’s the warm, brilliant Mia who seems to get Claire like no one has before. Soon, Claire begins to question her feelings for her new friend.

 

 

 

My review

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth: David wants to be a girl.
On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal: to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in his class is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long , and soon everyone knows that Leo used to be a girl.
As David prepares to come out to his family and transition into life as a girl and Leo wrestles with figuring out how to deal with people who try to define him through his history, they find in each other the friendship and support they need to navigate life as transgender teens as well as the courage to decide for themselves what normal really means.

 

 

My review

Frazer, head midwife at a hospital in Perth, Australia, is trying to make her corner of the world a little better by starting up a programme for at-risk parents. Not everyone is excited about her ideas. Surrounded by red tape, she finally has to team up with Cora, a social worker who is married to Frazer’s boss.
Cora is starting to think her marriage is beyond saving, even if she wants to. Feeling smothered by a domineering spouse, she grabs hold of the programme and the distraction Frazer offers with both hands. Soon the two women get a little too close and find themselves in a situation they never dreamed themselves capable of: an affair.
As the two fall deeper, both are torn between their taboo romance and their morals. But walking away from each other may not be as simple as they thought.

 

 

 

 

My review

High school senior Lanny Keating has it all. A three-sport athlete at Lauserville High School looking at a college football scholarship, with a supportive family, stellar grades, boy band good looks… until the fateful day when it all falls apart.
Seventeen-year-old Trevor Ladd has always been a publicly declared zero and the high school badboy. Abandoned by his mother and sexually abused by his legal guardian, Trevor sets his sights on mere survival.
Lanny seeks out Trevor’s companionship to avoid his shattered home life. Unwilling to share their personal experiences of pain, the boys explore ways to escape, leading them into sexual experimentation, and the abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol. Their mutual suffering creates a lasting bond of friendship and love.
When the time finally comes to get clean and sober, or flunk out of high school, only one of the boys will graduate, while the other spirals downward into addiction.
Will Lanny and Trevor find the strength to battle their demons of mind-altering substances as well as emotional vulnerability?
Clean takes the reader on a gritty trip into the real and raw world of teenage substance abuse.

 

My review

18-year-old Vincent Hazelwood has spent his entire life being shuffled from one foster home to the next. His grades sucked. Making friends? Out of the question thanks to his nervous breakdowns and unpredictable moods. Still, Vince thought when Maggie Atkins took him in, he might’ve finally found a place to get his life—and his issues—in order.

But then Maggie keels over from a heart attack. Vince is homeless, alone, and the inheritance money isn’t going to last long. A year ago, Vince watched a girl leap to her death off a bridge, and now he’s starting to think she had the right idea.

Vince stumbles across a website forum geared toward people considering suicide. There, he meets others with the same debate regarding the pros and cons of death: Casper, battling cancer, would rather off herself than slowly waste away. And there’s quiet, withdrawn Adam, who suspects if he died, his mom wouldn’t even notice.

As they gravitate toward each other, Vince searches for a reason to live while coping without Maggie’s guidance, coming to terms with Casper’s imminent death, and falling in love with a boy who doesn’t plan on sticking around.

 

My review

Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.

Gus is not normal. And he’s fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.

Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.

But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

 

My review

Among his eccentric though strictly principled group of friends, Lord Richard Vane is the confidant on whom everyone depends for advice, moral rectitude, and discreet assistance. Yet when Richard has a problem, he turns to his valet, a fixer of unparalleled genius—and the object of Richard’s deepest desires. If there is one rule a gentleman must follow, it is never to dally with servants. But when David is close enough to touch, the rules of class collide with the basest sort of animal instinct: overpowering lust.

For David Cyprian, burglary and blackmail are as much in a day’s work as bootblacking—anything for the man he’s devoted to. But the one thing he wants for himself is the one thing Richard refuses to give: his heart. With the tension between them growing to be unbearable, David’s seemingly incorruptible master has left him no choice. Putting his finely honed skills of seduction and manipulation to good use, he will convince Richard to forget all about his well-meaning objections and give in to sweet, sinful temptation.

 

 

My review

Everyone knows that Prophet—former Navy SEAL, former CIA spook, full-time pain in the ass—works alone and thinks only about the trouble he can cause. But his boss, Phil Butler of Extreme Escapes, LTD., has just assigned Proph not only a new partner but also a case haunted by ghosts from Proph’s past. Suddenly, he’s got to confront them both head on.

Tom Boudreaux—failed FBI agent, failed sheriff, full time believer in bad luck—is wondering why the head of a private contracting firm has hunted him down to offer him a job. Still he’s determined to succeed this time, despite being partnered with Prophet, EE, LTD’s most successful, lethal, and annoying operative, and even though the case is also resurrecting his own painful past.

Together, Prophet and Tom must find a way to take down killers in the dangerous world of underground cage matches, while fighting their own dangerous attraction. And when they find themselves caught in the crossfire, these two loners are forced to trust each other and work together to escape their ghosts . . . or pay the price.

 

My review

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos. But when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative, and deadly, his new master, Prince Laurent, epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else…

 

 

 

A series of murders in New York City has stymied the police and FBI alike, and they suspect the culprit is a single killer sending an indecipherable message. But when the two federal agents assigned to the investigation are taken out, the FBI takes a more personal interest in the case.

Special Agent Ty Grady is pulled out of undercover work after his case blows up in his face. He’s cocky, abrasive, and indisputably the best at what he does. But when he’s paired with Special Agent Zane Garrett, it’s hate at first sight. Garrett is the perfect image of an agent: serious, sober, and focused, which makes their partnership a classic cliche: total opposites, good cop-bad cop, the odd couple. They both know immediately that their partnership will pose more of an obstacle than the lack of evidence left by the murderer.

Practically before their special assignment starts, the murderer strikes again this time at them. Now on the run, trying to track down a man who has focused on killing his pursuers, Grady and Garrett will have to figure out how to work together before they become two more notches in the murderer’s knife.


What would your required reading list look like?

Review: Lone star on a cowboy heart by Marie S. Crosswell

 Series: Standalone

Genre: LGBT (biromantic character, aromantic asexual character)

Rating: 2/5 stars

Cover: I love the colour scheme.

Links: goodreads, publisher

Trigger warnings: none

Description: Sam, a sheriff’s deputy in a small Arizona town, is off-duty when he finds himself in the middle of a hold-up at a local diner. He makes it out alive only because of Montgomery, who shoots the robber that attempted to kill Sam—but in the fallout, the second robber gets away.

In the aftermath of that ugly night, Sam is determined to get to know Montgomery better, while Montgomery is determined to find the man who escaped. He’s also dead set on avoiding the sheriff, having secrets of his own he doesn’t want out.

But loneliness is hard, and Montgomery can’t resist the companionship Sam is offering—the companionship he’s always wanted, but could never find. If they’re going to explore it, however, first they’ll have to stop the growing threat of the robber who got away…

Review: I was so excited to get this ARC, because it’s the first aromantic book for me. Sadly it left me disappointed.

Montgomery is aromantic, so of course this book doesn’t contain a romance between the two main characters. Instead it focusses on friendship, which was a nice change. But it didn’t make me feel things (which is sad because friendship is so important).

Okay, I kinda lied. I did have feelings. Negative feelings, mainly annoyance. Sam has a thing with a female character, who he likes because – guess what – she is not like other woman. Which is bad enough on its own, but the reason why is apparently because they have some sort of friends with benefits thing going on. No other woman has ever done something like this before. Sex without love, scandalous. (I’m sorry but this is really bothering me.)

The police in this story is really incapable of… like, anything. Luckily Montgomery, who is not a cop, solves the case.

This story is a western, so of course there are horses. But the way the horses were described made me really uncomfortable. One horse has a masculine face. I felt like the animal was sexualized. Really, a masculine face? Maybe riders talk this way about their horses? So I asked someone who has ridden for her whole life and she felt the same bewilderment as I did.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Top five books that have been on my shelf from before I started blogging

As always this meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Go and take a look at their blog!

I started blogging a little more than a year ago and there aren’t a lot of unread books from before then on my shelf. On my Kindle on the other hand… that number ist just embarrassing.


 Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels (m/m)

New York City Vice Detective Evan Cerelli has lost his wife, the only person he ever loved and slept with. He’s trying to get on with his life, build a life for his children. Former Homicide Detective Matt Haight is a ladies’ man, all sex/no commitment. He’s depressed, having a midlife crisis, and not sure where his life is headed.

The two find friendship in the bottom of a shared bottle. When the friendship turns to love, it shakes two straight men to the core and flips their lives inside out. Kids, families, careers that are not gay-friendly — can all the love in the world overcome the obstacles to faith and fidelity

 

 Dark Soul by Aleksandr Voinov (m/m)

Stefano Marino is a made man, a happily married west coast mafia boss who travels east to await the death of a family patriarch. All the old hands have gathered—of course sharks will circle when there’s blood in the water—but it’s a new hand that draws Stefano’s eye.

Silvio “the Barracuda” Spadaro is protetto and heir to retired consigliere Gianbattista Falchi, and a made man in his own right. Among his underworld family, being gay is a capital crime, but the hypersexual—and pansexual—young killer has never much cared for rules. The only orders he follows are Battista’s, whether on the killing field or on his knees, eagerly submissive at Battista’s feet.

But Silvio has needs Battista can’t fill, and he’s cast his black-eyed gaze on Stefano. A fake break-in, an even faker attack, and Silvio is exactly where he wants to be: strung up at Stefano’s mercy, driving the older Mafioso toward urges he’s spent his whole life repressing. Stefano resists, but when the Russian mob invades his territory and forces him to seek aid, Gianbattista’s price brings Stefano face to face once more with Silvio—and his darkest desires.

 

 Someone is watching by Mark A. Roeder (m/m)

Someone Is Watching. Someone Knows. It was a nightmare come true for seventeen-year-old Ethan. It’s hard hiding a secret. It’s even harder keeping that secret when someone else knows. Who is the mysterious note-writer, the secret tormentor? Who is the enemy that hides among Ethan’s friends and teammates? Who holds Ethan’s secret over his head, threatening to destroy his entire world? Someone Is Watching is the story of a young high school wrestler that must come to grips with being gay. He struggles first with himself, then with an unknown classmate that hounds his every step. While struggling to discover the identity of his tormentor, Ethan must discover his own identity and learn to live his life as his true self. In the end he is faced with a terrible decision. He must give up what he wants the most, or face his greatest fear of all.

 

 Once a marine by Cat Grant (m/m)

Separated from service under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, former Marine major Cole Hammond is trying to reinvent himself, but twelve years in the corps – and near-crippling PTSD – makes reintegration into civilian life hard. Add in poor law school grades and his homophobic ex-Marine father’s rejection, and Cole’s nearly at the end of his rope.

That is, until he meets Marc Sullivan, waiter by day, romance writer by night. Marc’s always had a thing for guys in uniform, so when Cole walks into the diner one rainy afternoon, his sweet, sexy smile and Carolina drawl pull Marc in like a magnet. But Marc’s been down this road with hot Marines before, and it always leads to heartbreak.

With Marc’s help, Cole seeks therapy for his PTSD, and a happy life together no longer seems impossible. But if they can’t conquer their fears – Cole’s fear of coming out, Marc’s fear of being abandoned – love might not be enough to save them.

 

 The warrior’s path by Catherine M. Wilson (f/f)

In Book I of the trilogy, Tamras arrives in Merin’s house to begin her apprenticeship as a warrior, but her small stature causes many, including Tamras herself, to doubt that she will ever become a competent swordswoman. To make matters worse, the Lady Merin assigns her the position of companion, little more than a personal servant, to a woman who came to Merin’s house, seemingly out of nowhere, the previous winter, and this stranger wants nothing to do with Tamras.

 

 

 


I’ve kinda forgotten about a lot of them… but I think I really should read them soon.

What about you? Any unread books from before you started blogging?

Merken

Merken

Merken

Review: Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk

 Series: Whyborne & Griffin (book 1)

Genre: LGBT (m/m), Romance, Historical, Paranormal

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Cover: I love how soft it seems

Links: goodreads

Trigger warnings: none

Description: Some things should stay buried.

Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he’s ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.

So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult which murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn’t believe are real.

As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin’s secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?

Review: I have mixed feelings about this one. At first I was slightly bored, but the story grew on me.

Whyborne is an unusual character in my eyes. He is very insecure in social situations – not unusual – but he really shows it. Very great case of show don’t tell and very refreshing. His melodramaticness was a little bit funny to me.

Sadly there is a case of insta-love between him and Griffin. I still enjoyed their relationship, so okay. Not perfect, but okay.

Speaking of perfect: Christine! She is such an amazing character. I wouldn’t have minded if there were a whole book about her and her adventures in showing opinionated men who’s boss.

Somehow this novel reminded me of the Sherlock Holmes movie starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Maybe it is the atmosphere? Although Widdershins is way more creepier. At times I thought of adding horror to the genres.

Review: Kings rising by C.S. Pacat

 Series: Captive Prince (book 3)

Genre: LGBT (m/m), Romance, Historical

Rating: 5/5 stars

Cover: I’m so happy I have this one on my bookshelf

Links: goodreads

Trigger warnings: none

Description: Damianos of Akielos has returned.

His identity now revealed, Damen must face his master Prince Laurent as Damianos of Akielos, the man Laurent has sworn to kill.

On the brink of a momentous battle, the future of both their countries hangs in the balance. In the south, Kastor’s forces are massing. In the north, the Regent’s armies are mobilising for war. Damen’s only hope of reclaiming his throne is to fight together with Laurent against their usurpers.

Forced into an uneasy alliance the two princes journey deep into Akielos, where they face their most dangerous opposition yet. But even if the fragile trust they have built survives the revelation of Damen’s identity—can it stand against the Regents final, deadly play for the throne?

Review: Perfect. Go and read it now. End of review.

No, but seriously, I really enjoyed this series. Kings rising is enthralling from the start and surprising. There were some things I just did not expect.

Of course there are lots of dramatic turns – Laurent is a part of this story, so of course there are – and everything comes together nicely.

I was a mess after finishing this. Why isn’t there more? Hopefully C.S. Pacat will write more books (non Captive Prince ones as well)  soon.

Review: The Club by A.L. Brooks

 Series: Standalone

Genre: LGBT (f/f), Erotica

Rating: dnf at 30%

Cover: Nothing special, but fitting.

Links: goodreads, publisher

Trigger warnings: cheating (maybe more)

Description: Welcome to The Club—leave your inhibitions and your everyday cares at the door and indulge yourself in an evening of anonymous, no-strings, woman-on-woman action.
For many of the women who visit The Club this is exactly what they are looking for and what they get. For others the emotions run high, and one night of sex can change their lives in ways they couldn’t have imagined. For Lou, her weekly visits to The Club enable her to set aside her shyness and loneliness and feel intimacy, however briefly. For Kath, caring for her mother at home, The Club is a welcome relief from her everyday toil; while Max needs distraction from her troubled relationship, even as she tries to tell herself she isn’t really cheating. Tania and Jacky find an outlet for a tricky block in their sex life. Cassie and Nina, bar staff at The Club, find themselves staying on after hours. And finally, Stephanie, struggling with her sexuality, finds her life changing in so many ways once she plucks up courage to enter.
The lives of these women intersect in ways they don’t realize, and watching over them all is Mandy— the owner, whose own ghosts play a pivotal role in the existence of The Club.

Review: I feel really bad for dnf-ing this book, but I just couldn’t read further.

There are no 1 or 2 star ratings on goodreads (12th august 2016), so I’m probably very alone with my dislike of this book.

I just couldn’t get into it! I didn’t get a feel for the different characters. Instead I felt indifferent and with some eve annoyed. Example: two women are in a relationship, one of them doesn’t like to be eaten out and they are having an argument over it every few weeks. Wtf?! Just don’t do it? There are other fun things to do? I really, really didn’t get it. Is that such a big deal?

Another thing bothering me was the butch/femme dynamic. As far as I read there is always a butch and a femme getting it on. Because you gotta have the male part and the female part of course. Yes, I know there are butches and femmes, but that’s not all there is and it’s not always butch/femme.

Anyway. I really dreaded reading, so I didn’t read for three whole days. Even though the writing itself is not horrible or anything.

The sex scenes were hot enough on their own if I didn’t think too much about it, but that is not enough for me to read further.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Review: Flinging it by G. Benson

 Series: Standalone

Genre: LGBT (f/f, bisexual character, trans* character), Romance

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Cover: Could be a photograph right out of this story.

Links: goodreads, publisher

Trigger warnings: emotional abuse

Description: Frazer, head midwife at a hospital in Perth, Australia, is trying to make her corner of the world a little better by starting up a programme for at-risk parents. Not everyone is excited about her ideas. Surrounded by red tape, she finally has to team up with Cora, a social worker who is married to Frazer’s boss.
Cora is starting to think her marriage is beyond saving, even if she wants to. Feeling smothered by a domineering spouse, she grabs hold of the programme and the distraction Frazer offers with both hands. Soon the two women get a little too close and find themselves in a situation they never dreamed themselves capable of: an affair.
As the two fall deeper, both are torn between their taboo romance and their morals. But walking away from each other may not be as simple as they thought.

Review: I loved this book way more than I thought I would.

Both main characters are very interesting and I was able to feel everything they feel. Especially Cora took a hold of me and didn’t let go. The way she struggles and how she gets stronger and stronger is really well-written. Bonus points for the slow building friendship and romance. It felt very real and was a fun, slightly dramatic read.

I really liked Jack as well. His struggles with being pregnant were so heart breaking… And I especially liked how Frazer uses ‘pregnant people’ instead of ‘pregnant women’ in her programme. It should be standard, but sadly it’s not.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.