Monthly Wrap Up: April (Late, I Know)

I read 12 books last month! 6 of them had autistic rep for Autistic Pride Readathon and 2 of them had A-Spec (asexual or aromantic spectrum) rep for Aspec April!

🔺Diverse Books Read: 9/12

🔺New Adult/Adult Books Read: 7/12

🔺Middle Grade Books Read: 0

🔺Young Adult Books Read: 5/12

🔺Graphic Novels Read: 0

🔺Novellas/Anthologies Read: 2

🔺Favorite reads of the month: Testing Pandora, If We Were Villains, Seven Ways We Lie, Every Heart a Doorway, Serious Moonlight, The Luminous Dead

🔺Least favorite read(s): Can’t Escape Love

🔺Longest Book Read: The Luminous Dead (432 pages)

🔺Shortest Book Read: Testing Pandora (166 pages)

 

 

Testing Pandora by Kaia Sonderby

Failure to Communicate is one of my top 5 favorite reads of this year. It’s got autistic and bisexual rep and it’s the best kind of political scifi/space opera out there. I was eager to read this prequel novella to get a little more of a glimpse into Xandri’s life pre Carpathia. We don’t really get to see that much of what her life was life, it focuses more on her joining the Carpathia than her life before it but I adored it all the same. I cannot get enough of this series and the fact that it’s gonna be 8 books long makes me unbelievably happy! I loved getting to see how Xandri first met Diver and Kiri and adjusted to life on board the Carpathia. I’m currently reading and loving book 2!

Rating: 5/5 stars

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

The Gilded Wolves had some unique and interesting concepts and I loved reading about the setting and time period……however I was beyond confused most of the time I was reading it. A lot of it just went over my head I guess? I got the general idea though. I think. And I loved the characters. Especially Zofia, who’s autistic and jewish. I thought the rep was pretty good for not being Own Voices! It was sliiiightly stereotypically as Zofia is a math wiz and wicked smart but I still loved her nonetheless-her strength and individuality were very admirable. Her budding romance with Enrique (a bisexual cutie whom I love) is adorable but Enrique has interest in both Zofia and another character, Hypnos. So it’s a bit of a love triangle but I’m hoping we miiiiiight get a polyamorous endgame out of this? Who knows? As for the other characters, I loved them as well. Layla is the super sweet, motherly type, and I loved how she looked after everyone. Severin is a bit broody but he’s a cupcake on the inside and will protect his friends with his life and maybe one day he’ll admit he loves Layla! Then there’s Tristan, the baby of the group and an adorable nerd. Definitely reading the next book to find out what happens next!

Rating: 4/5 stars

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

I tried to read this a couple years ago and DNF it, deciding it wasn’t for me. However, there was a lot of hype for it on twitter (especially from a certain someone named Rocky…) and after hearing about the rest of the books in the series I decided to give this one another go. I am SOOO glad I did! I loved it! The relationship between Jaime and Charlotte is complicated as hell and I loved their dynamics as they solved a perplexing crime together. It was so much fun! It did feel a little rushed at the end (I was also hoping a certain something would be waaaaaaaay more slow burn) but overall it was super entertaining, an emotional ride, and I can’t wait to read book two!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

If We Were Villains by M.L Rio

2019 is the year of me venturing into Adult and New Adult books. I’ve read plenty of New Adult college romances in the past but until this year, the only Adult books I’d read were The Bone Season, Uprooted and The Song of Achilles. I’m just growing out of YA a bit and craving books with characters my age and/or catered to me age group! Anyway,  If We Were Villains is one of the Adult books I decided to read and I loved it to death! I’ll admit I was a little confused by some of the Shakespearean language, which is used excessively in this book, but it did little to hinder my love for this book. It’s complicated and messy and comprised of complicated, messy, morally grey characters. Our main character, Oliver, is probably the gentlest and softest of them all. And he’s also bisexual! A sweet, bisexual cinnamon roll. I adored him. I adored James and I adored Filipa and I adored Alexander. They were by far my favorites in this complicated group of theater kids although I appreciated the complexity of Meredith and Wren as characters as well. I really liked how the book switched between 22 year old Oliver and 32 year old Oliver, after being in prison for 10 years. That’s not a spoiler! It’s literally in the first couple pages. It was super interesting to read about Oliver in three entirely different periods of his life-before tragedy, during, and after. This book is gut wrenching, utterly shocking, and had an end that blew me away.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

Jenn Bennett never fails to write perfectly swoony, heart warming romances. Serious Moonlight was no exception. Although the chemistry between the two characters wasn’t as mind blowing as it was in her previous YA’s, I still adored the adorable awkwardness and the nerdy banter between them. I loved how Birdie and Daniel had a one night stand, expected to never meet again, and then wound up working at the same hotel. Awkward romance tropes like that are my absolute fave. Birdie is also narcoleptic while Daniel is Asian and deaf and has a history of mental illness, so it was great to see some disability and interracial rep. I loved watching them fall in love as they spied on suspicious authors, explored Seattle, traded life stories and bonded over a shared love of a good mystery. And of course I loved all the drama as well!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

The Luminous Dead is one of the most creepy, mysterious, suspenseful books I’ve ever read. It takes place solely underground in dark, dangerous caves. The entire time you’re reading you’re on edge, expecting some horror to be around every corner, feeling as though something is about to go terribly wrong. It’s incredible. This book is also very queer, but in a very subtle way. The two female main characters don’t touch or meet in person almost the entire novel. Their relationship exists almost solely via video chat and helmet speakers. And yet, it was one of the most intense and beautifully messy romances I’ve ever read. If you’re looking for a good f/f adult horror, pick this one up!

Rating: 5/5 stars

 

Unbroken by Marieke Nijkamp (and other authors)

I don’t go for anthologies all that often because I very rarely find short stories satisfying, and I’m likely to dislike more stories in anthology than I like. Unbroken wasn’t really an exception although there were a few short stories in here that I absolutely loved and won’t forget anytime soon. It was so refreshing to read an anthology entirely focused on disabled main characters, including those with both physical and mental disabilities, and stories by and about queer and poc disabled folk. My favorite stories were the ones by Marieke Nijkamp, Corinne Duyvis, Kody Keplinger, Katherine Locke, and Kayla Whaley. All amazing stories I’d recommend reading!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

I’m usually not huge on short stories or novellas. They just don’t typically leave me feeling satisfied. However, Every Heart a Doorway blew me away. I was beyond satisfied with the ending, I became attached to the characters, I was drawn deep into the chilling, grim, captivating story. I did have a bit of an issue with the asexual rep though; it seemed to conflate asexuality with not wanting to date. It does explicitly state that aromanticism is different from asexuality though, so I appreciate that. I was just a bit boggled that it seemed to go back and forth between stating “asexuality does not mean a lack of romantic attraction” and suggesting that the main character didn’t want to date BECAUSE she was asexual. But I know a lot of other Aspec folk loved this one and since I loved the rep and the story overall, I’m willing to overlook it. I can’t wait to read the rest of the Wayward Children series!

Rating: 5/5 stars

Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole

Can’t Escape Love was a bit slow and difficult for me to get through. I am glad I read it though cause it was great to read a love story between two disabled characters, even if I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the story overall. This is the first time I’ve read a romance with a wheelchair user as a POV character and I loved Regina’s confidence and forthrightness and ability to stand up for herself. I loved the way they bonded over comics and cartoons and nerd culture as well and I thought their relationship was very respectful and healthy. I was a bit disappointed that the word autistic was only mentioned once, and neither times were in conversation between the two of them. I wanted Gus to state outright to Regina that he was autistic. I’m always sad when romances with autistic characters don’t include this. I did like the rep overall though and thought it was pretty well written.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

 

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

I thought this would be a very difficult to get through. It has SEVEN points of view, l so I was wary that it’d be too confusing. But it’s written so well. The seven main characters were so distinct that I had no trouble telling them apart at all. I especially loved Valentine, the autistic and aro/ace outcast. I could relate to him in many ways and I loved how honest he was. Lucas was probably my second favorite. He’s pansexual and so so pure, with a heart of gold. I really loved him and Valentine’s friendship. I loved the twins Kat and Olivia as well, and how they slowly grew close to each other again. Claire was probably my least favorite, at least for most of the book. I feel like she really grew as a person and redeemed herself in the end though. I loved Kat/Matt’s budding romance and I loved how Junipers heart wrenching chapters were written in verse. I just loved everything about this book and my only complaint is that it ended too soon!!

Rating: 5/5 stars

 

Blood-Bound by Kaelan Rhywiol

This book was very…weird. Kind of in a good way, kind of not. It’s not all that well written and there were a lot of ‘wtf’ moments and badly written lines. But I was entertained the entire time. I also really appreciated the asexual spectrum, bisexual and polyamorous rep. It was nice to see a grey ace character who enjoys sex, cause many people forget that lack of sexual attraction doesn’t mean lack of libido. Rhian is mostly asexual, her estranged husband (whom she meets again for the first time in hundreds of years) being the only person she’s ever been sexually attracted to. If you want an entertaining (but also very bloody and kind dark) adult paranormal romance, check this one out! The queer rep is own voices and the author is autistic as well.

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

The Line Between by Tosca Lee

The only reason I picked this one up is because I heard it had a 22 year old main character (same age as me) and some romance. That’s literally it. Lol. I enjoyed it! The characters were very surface level but the concept was original and interesting. It involves a religious cult and a pending apocalypse. I found the main characters story to be a very interesting one and I was reading in suspense the whole time, waiting to see what obstacles would be encountered next. I’m looking forward to the sequel!

Rating: 4/5 stars

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