REVIEW / Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston / A Queer Royal Love Story

red white and royal blue

Summary

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations. The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.  As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

What I Liked:

  • It was really, really funny and I actually laughed out loud at several points
  • Adorable
  • I was smiling through about 80% of the book
  • One of the love interests was Mexican-American, I believe?
  • ENEMIES TO FRIENDS TO LOVERS TROPE!!
  • Alex and Henry worked so well together, they really complimented each other, but they were also great characters independently as well
  • The romance was really fluffy, which helped ease the heavyness of the other topics written in the book
  • The narrator on the audiobook had a British accent and it was wonderful
  • The sex scenes were really good – vague, so not too detailed to make me go “ew” (asexuality yay lol) but enough detail to make me really feel their love and how much they enjoyed one another
  • This book is just…happiness, and I felt pure joy for a majority of the book

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Political, but I knew that going into the book, it just stresses me out and triggers my anxiety so it ruined the experiance of the book a little
  • The very very very long chapters
  • One of the characters was forced to come out and, although the ending of this was mostly happy, it was really uncomfortable

So, what did you think of it?! I know pretty much everyone has read this before me, and the hype for this has long since died down, but I am late to every trend so why not this one as well?

Anyway, I already want to re-read it again and buy a physical copy so I can destroy it with how much I re-read it. I haven’t felt such strong happiness reading a book in a really long time. 5/5 stars. Obviously.

Until next time,

A.W

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Trans Power // Juno Roche // Spoiler-Free Review on Owning Your Gender

trans power

So, I admit, I never read the description of this book. I saw pink, I saw “Trans Power”, and instantly clicked “request” on NetGalley. This will be published in October later on in the year, if you’re interested. If I did, though, I probably would never have read it because sex (especially penises) make me horribly uncomfortable. That was entirely my mistake, though. As a trans person myself, it still makes me happy to see queer sex being spoken about so openly from a transgender ex-sex worker.

Despite that, there are some things about this that I did really enjoy. I liked how transgender POC were spoken about, and how their race plays a part in their sexual relationships and their experiances being transgender. It speaks about certain violence that they face, and how they process being transgender in comparison to someone who is white (in that case, the comparison is against Juno herself).

I also liked how it spoke about the love that two people can share for each other when one or both is transgender. I think this is especially important for other transgender people to read about and know that being trans doesn’t mean they can’t have a loving relationship and be attractive. For the cis people who read this, it may give them a new perspective and outlook on how they percieve transgender people.

It includes others like disabled people (one had seizures, ME and uses a wheelchair, for example) and non-binary people. I’m so used to us enbies being excluded from transgender discussions that I honestly wasn’t expecting us to become a part of the book, and this was a pleasent surprise.

There were a few problems I had with this, though.

  1. I know that the whole point of this book is to explore sexual relationships between queer transgender people, but I would have liked it to mention or imply that some transgender people don’t have sex/are asexual/are monogamous and that’s okay
  2. The writing style was a drag, and it was difficult to read. It wasn’t sense, and it didn’t include information dumps, it was just boring and there’s no other way to describe it – the writing didn’t make me want to carry on reading it
  3. Most of the voices within this book come from AFAB transgender people, and maybe that’s because Juno is AMAB and wanted to experiance new voices and learn new experiances that would be different from her own, but I would have liked to have heard more about AFAB transgender people
  4. The language used was uncomfortable, but I think that’s just personal preference (and maybe the fact that I’m British). It was a bit too graphic and vulgar for me to be able to enjoy it and really get into it

 

This wasn’t a bad read. Overall, I gave it 3/5 stars, but it just wasn’t for me. It all boils down to personal preference and I do actually really enjoy reading non-fiction and I don’t read it anywhere near as often as I read fiction, but I do tend to like it. This one just wasn’t my cup of tea. I’m sorry! I think plenty of people, especially if you’re comfortable with an open discussion on queer sex, would love this.

A.W

Pride Flag Book Tag!! :D

gay flag

Finally, I’m actually doing something for pride month that isn’t just reading pride month books! Whoo! It’s surprisingly difficult for me to come up with things, and before this year I didn’t actually read very much at all so recommending books is also a really difficult thing to do because I’d be reccomending books that I mostly haven’t read…

Anyway, each stripe on the pride flag has a different meaning. For this tag, I will be picking a book out for each of the stripes that relates to the meaning of said stripe…if that at all makes sense. If not, I hope it will by the end of this tag.

RED: LIFE

Prompt: a book with a sprited protagonist, someone who is proud of who they are, someone who gives you life

This one is a very recent read that I haven’t even spoken about in a wrap-up because that hasn’t been published yet. It would be Nathan from I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver. He’s just such an optimistic light, who I was rooting for more than the MC to be honest. He was bubbly, happy, kind-spirited and soft. Basically, everything I want in a love interest, and even though I didn’t know him personally I feel like he’s inspired me to try and find the good things in an ordinary day.

ORANGE: HEALING

Prompt: a book that made you, as a reader, that made you find a deeper meaning within your own life

I suppose the way I answered the first prompt in this tag could probably also be used to answer this one, but I want to use a different book for each prompt (for once!). I think it might be a non-fiction book, Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig. I usually am super wary of people who talk only negatively about social media, but this book doesn’t do that and instead made me evaluate how I use social media and how I consume media in general and how this contributes to my anxiety so I’ve been working on that and my screen time went from an average of 8hrs a day to 3hrs a day.

YELLOW: SUNSHINE

Prompt: a book that fills you with so much joy it could brighten even your darkest day

(that sentence, for the record, made me go ‘aww’) I think maybe Radio Silence by Alice Oseman, which is one of my favourite books of all time that I want to re-read but I’m worried that if I did it will change my reading experiance of the first time I read it. Also, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han because I adore Lara Jean, so much, she’s such a pure little bean.

GREEN: NATURE

Prompt: a book that is set out of this world, a reality different to our own

I don’t really read science-fiction very much. I don’t know why, because I really enjoy science fiction as a genre. It’s just not something I reach for very often. However, I think I’m going to go with City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab. This is about a young girl who has the abilty to go from the living world to the land of the dead. Half of it is set with us, and the other half is set in the afterworld, so I feel like this one counts? Anyway, this one is one of my all time favourites as well and I’m so excited that Tunnel of Bones is going to be released soon.

BLUE: PEACE

Prompt: a book where one of the characters finds peace with a difficult truth

I think that would be More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. In this, he has to cope with the loss of his love interests not through death but just from break-ups. He’s also struggling to cope with how he is gay. This is set in a world where you can get rid of your unwanted memories, and after he is put through hardships he wants to opt for this. However, he does somewhat find peace with his sexual identity and his past and also his new present.

PURPLE: SPIRIT

Prompt: a book that deals with LGBT themes and religion

I have several answers for this. There’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily. M. Danforth. Cameron is a closet lesbian living in a conservative town. After her parents die, she lives with her very conservative aunt. When she is outed to her aunt, she is sent to a religious conversion camp. I really enjoyed this one, but I’ve yet to write a review for it. I wrote notes within the book, so I’m hoping I’ll eventually get around to it.

The Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz, which I found to be quite a problematic book but it does deal somewhat with religion. His father is gay, and he was also adopted by him. Most of the characters within this book are religious.

Disobediance by Naomi Alderman deals with having a f/f relationship in your past as an Orthodox Jewish woman. I believe the MC is bisexual, and the love interest is a lesbian, but both characters are with men for a majority of the book and the actual f/f relationship is explored for just one chapter and is basically never spoken of again, so I can’t say I enjoyed this one much either.

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparata talks about being a lesbian in Nigeria, and this one was pretty good and interesting. It explores being POC, being religious and struggling with your sexual identity and having to marry a man just to remain safe.

Then I also have Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman which is a short f/f romance where one of the love interests is a Jewish woman and they run this very adorable sock knitting buisness together.

 

So, that’s it for the tag!! I hope you at least somewhat enjoyed it? You are tagged by me if you want to do this, and I would love to know what your answers to these prompts would be.

A.W

F/F Sapphic Book Recommendations!

Hello! I’ve just finished my last exam, hopefully ever, so maybe that means I may actually have more time to write blog posts! Yay! Today, I thought I would recommend some f/f books (which stands for female/female) – some I’ve read, and some I just want to read.

Under the Lights
Dahlia Adler

This one, I’m currently reading, and you’ll hear about what I thought of it in my end of the month summary! I was recommended this book by my friend, Natasha, as it covers one of my favourite tropes of “I didn’t know I was gay until I met you” so if you think that’s your thing then absolutely pick this up!

Everything Leads to You
Nina LaCour

I finished this one yesterday and I adored it. It’s about the film industry, which is something I have a lot of interest in, and how on uncovering a new found friend’s past they end up developing a bond past friendship. A very cute book, it makes you feel good.

Queens of Geek
Jen Wilde

One of my favourite things about this book is that it’s set in comic con. I’ve personally never been to one, but I have also wanted to. It also includes an autistic character (#OwnVoices!) so, if you want another feel good f/f book, this should be on you pick up!

Ash
Malinda Lo

A Cinderella retelling where she is due to marry the prince but, instead, she falls in love with the huntress and she has to choose between a fairy land life or her true love. It sounds so interesting, and I adore fairytale retellings so this one is right at the top of my list.

We Are Okay
Nina LaCour

This is very much not a happy story, but it is one of my all time favourites. It covers grief and getting over a love that you never really were able to let go of. It’s beautiful, and I really want to give it a re-read sometime.

Knit One, Girl Two
Shira Glassman

This one is very short, but very adorable. It includes a knitting club and a cat that accidentally dyes itself pink. Also, a chubby girl! And some #OwnVoices Jewish rep. A must read!

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel
Sara Farizan

This one is on my Pride TBR so you will see what I thought about it in my end of the month book summary!

Unicorn Tracks
Julia Ember

This one calls my name for multiple reasons – unicorns, it’s set in a safari and I’m an animal care student with a load of animal volunteering experiance and working at a safari would be a dream job, and the MC falls in love with a girl while trying to prevent the capturing and poaching of unicorns. Omg?! This book was clearly written for me

The Second Mango
Shira Glassman

I’ve had this one on my Kindle for a while now and I couldn’t tell you why I haven’t read it yet, I guess I’ve never found the time, but don’t let you think that doesn’t mean I’m not excited as heck about it (also, Shira follows me on Twitter, how cool is that)

Lambs Can Always Become Lions
Charlotte Anne Hamilton

This is a Robin Hood retelling (I told you I love retellings) where Robin is a girl, and she falls in love with another girl. Their love is forbidden (don’t get me started on how much I love forbidden love tropes) so they have to keep it on wraps but everyday they get closer and closer to the day they come discovered.

 

I hope this will help to diversify what you’re reading this Pride Month and, also, help cheer you up – I think we could all do with a pick me up, even if we’re mostly okay. Until next time!

A.W

Books Ft Aromantic or Asexual Characters!

demisexual

Aromantic and asexual people get a lot of negative attention during Pride Month from both the non-LGBT people and the LGBT alike. So, in order to shed some light for them (well, I’m asexual, so for me too), here are some asexual and aromantic book recs that I feel like we can all enjoy!:

Radio Silence
Alice Oseman

This one features a gay, demisexual (yay, my identity!!) major side character with depression. As an add on, it also includes a bisexual and biracial MC, and a gay English/Korean side character, a lesbian side character and an Indian side character. You may have noticed this book was in my all time favourites in my queer book category, but it is also one of my favourite books of all time ever – do yourself a favour and read this one!

Baker Thief
Claudie Arseneault

This one features a bigender aromantic (and alloace) fat MC and a demisexual MC, which also has a queerplatonic relationship and several queer side characters which include nonbinary, aromantic, trans and other queer characters. I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my queer TBR on Amazon and has been for a while, but eventually I do plan on getting around to this one.

Chameleon Moon
RoAnna Sylver

This one features a polyam asexual main character with anxiety. There is also a main charecter that is transgender and polyam, a queer polyam disabled woman of colour, a polyam nonbinary character, depression, another nonbinary side character, and PTSD rep. The polyam relationships are f/f/f and M/NB/M. RoAnna happens to be a friend of mine, but I’ve had this book for a long long time and I still haven’t read it – I do plan on getting around to it at some point, though

The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me
Olivia Hinebaugh

The main character is a biromantic asexual. I believe this one also talks about safety in sex, and about music which I find interesting personally! I’ve added this one to my TBR during research for this book post, and I’m already excited for it.

Birthday
Meredith Russo

I’m just going to say that the first thing I noticed about this one was that it was written by the same person who published IF I WAS YOUR GIRL which is on my queer favourites blog post, as well! I have an instant interest in this because of that. The main character is transgender who is a questioning aromantic/asexual with depression.

If It Makes You Happy
Claire Kann

This author, I believe, has published a couple other asexual/aromantic books as well as I believe the author themselves are asexual/aromantic, possibly? But don’t quote me on that because I’m not sure if it’s true. The main character is black, fat and asexual. There are also other queerplatonic relationships.

The Gentleman’s Guice to Vice and Virtue
Mackenzie Lee

I’m sure you’ve heard of this one, as everyone has by now! It’s a very popular book, although I know the author has been known to be problematic but I can’t remember why at the moment. The major side character is aromantic and asexual, and they are the MC in the sequel. There’s also an MC who is black and bisexual, and a major side character with a neurological disorder who is gay/bisexual, a m/m romance and a sapphic Muslim side character)

Tash Hearts Tolstoy
Kathryn Ormsbee

The main character is asexual, but I haven’t heard about any of the other representation because I haven’t read this one yet. It’s on my TBR, and it’s also on my asexual post that I wrote before I deleted it and rewrote it. It absolutely sounds like my sort of thing.

Let’s Talk About Love
Claire Kann

Yes, here she is again!! This one has a black biromantic asexual main character in a f/f romance. The love interest is Japanese and there are also Latinx and Flipino side characters.

Immoral Code
Lillian Clark

The main character is aromantic and asexual. There is also a Mexican- American main character and a Japanese-American main character.

Sawkill Girls
Claire Legrand

This features a black, bisexual and asexual main character as well as a bisexual main character, an abuse survivor, a lesbian and a f/f romance

Summer Blue Bird
Akemi Dawn

This includes someone who is on the aromantic and asexual spectrum who is also a questioning biracial character. There are also biracial side and minor characters.

 

If you have any other books featuring aromantic and asexual characters, then please do let me know! I’m always looking for more.

A.W

My Favourite Queer Books (So Far!)

gay flag

Pride Month Post three!! This is probably going to change after pride month, because by the time this post is up I’ll be working through my queer TBR, but as of the end of May 2019 this is what my favourite queer books are as of now:

Moonstruck: Vol 1
Grace Ellis

My friend Stacey bought this for me and I’d never even heard of it, so it was an amazing surprise to find a werewolf f/f relationship with fat representation AND a non-binary character! The art was really good, the comedy was great, and the plot was so fun. I adore this comic so much.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Taylor Jenkins Reid

I know this is everyone’s favourite, but there’s nothing in this to hate. I wasn’t too keen on the plot twist at the end, but I rarely do enjoy plot twists. The proise, the writing style, the development, the plot, the themes…it was all amazing. Evelyn is bisexual and she was in love with a woman.

If I Was Your Girl
Meredith Russo

This is about a trans girl who moved from one place to another where nobody knows she’s trans, and she’s trying her hardest to make sure nobody finds out. I really loved this, and I really felt for her when she knew she was a girl and she loved how everyone saw her as a girl for once and how afraid she was that this would change. I was always rooting for her.

Leah on the Offbeat
Becky Albertalli

This features bisexuality and fat representation, as well, which is the main reason why this bumped up to the top of my favourite queer books. I also really love Leah, who is so bold and out there despite her insecurity in her body and ever since I read this I’ve made it an aim to try and have her fake confidence (it hasn’t worked out so well, so far)

Radio Silence
Alice Oseman

This book was the first time I’ve ever seen demisexuality represented in a book and back when I struggled to read books as fast as I do now, it was amazing to me that I managed to finish this book in a day. It handled friendship, sexuality and parental abuse so well – I think I need to re-read this one soon.

Queens of Geek
Jen Wilde

The main reason I love this one so much is that there’s an autistic character in this and, although she isn’t the one in a f/f relationship, I still really loved seeing myself represented in a book and I also love how this is set in a ComicCon. I’ll never be able to go to one myself so it felt like I was really there, which is something I can’t experiance.

We Are Okay
Nina LaCour

This features a f/f relationship and handles the topic of grief and depression really well. I really sympathised with the characters and it made me cry, several times. Also, the cover of this book is beautiful.

George
Alex Gino

I think this is the first book I read featuring a trans character and I really loved that about it. It was so sweet and cute with no sexualisation and, as someone who is uncomfortable with sex, I really enjoyed that aspect of the book. I’ve since lost my copy of this book, it’s probably still in the house I’ve moved from.

Kim Reaper
Sarah Graley

F/f relationship and cats!! Also, someone that assists the dead to the afterlife and I really love things about creepy dead people so extra points for that one.

 

This is my list of queer books that are in my fave queer book selections!! Do you like the same books I like? What are your favourite queer books?

A.W

 

Misconceptions About my Identities – Gay, Transgender, Demisexual

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Hello! Welcome to my second post of Pride Month. As I said in my last post, I was originally going to reccomend books on each identity in the queer community but I was insecure about my choices, so I’m doing this instead which is a bit more personal anyway! I got this idea from this post.

Identity One: Demisexual

demisexual

Demisexuality is only being able to form a sexual attraction to someone if you have a strong emotional connection to them. This is most common in romantic relationships, but it can be formed within any relationship.

A common misconception I get is “isn’t that just like every relationship?” and a short answer would be that no, it isn’t. Although if you really identify with the demisexual label, the chances are you may be demisexual yourself but that’s up to you to decide on whether or not you want to be labelled like that.

Another common misconception is that we will feel sexual attraction towards our partner. There is no gurantee of this happening. Although in my case, it did, because I’ve never had such a strong emotional connection before, this isn’t the case for every demisexual.

We can still have sex with no sexual attraction. This is common among asexuals, as well. Some of us do it just because everyone else is, or because we want to even when there is no attraction is there. Some of us don’t want to have sex which can include trauma or religious reasons.

Because demisexual can feel like we’re “in the middle” (much like I did when I identified as bisexual), we get a lot of flack from both asexual people and sexual people. This is usually for things like “not picking a side” or because it “doesn’t really count” as a sexuality, because sometimes we can have sexual relationships with sexual attraction – much like how bisexuals get flack for being bisexual and dating someone of an opposite gender

gay flag

Identity Two: Gay

I think I can just jump right in with this one and say that, whenever I’ve come out as gay to someone, they always assume that means I’m attracted to everyone. I get confused when people think this, because straight people aren’t attracted to everything that breathes so why would we?

We don’t only come out once – this is something we have to do constantly throughout our life, thanks to the assumptions people make about us in thinking we are straight without asking us and especially if we don’t show stereotypical “gay” behaviours.

Another one is that, in a relationship, one of us is “male” and the other one is “female”. In my relationship with Kai, we both play the role of being non-binary because we’re both non-binary transgender. There is no male one and no female one. I think to think otherwise would be homophobic because it lies on the assumption that straight is the default.

Also, just because same sex marriage has been legalized in some countries does not mean that homophobia doesn’t exist. We cope with it nearly everyday, in some places more severe than others.

trans flag

Identity Three: Transgender/Non-Binary

This one, I tend not to talk about much because I’m so afraid my family and real life friends won’t accept me or will say hurtful/harmful things about my identity. They’re not as into reading as I am, though, so here’s hoping they never got this far if they have found my blog – if they did, hello, and lets never mention this again

There’s a misconception that we all want surgery and, personally, I do not. I’m not happy with my apperance so plastic surgery I’d accept, but not surgery relating to my gender. I don’t want to be the “opposite gender”, but I’m not a woman, I am non-binary. I don’t want to be andronynous (or however you spell that…) either, I just want to be me and I want to do that without having to prove anything.

There’s also this misconception that if a trans person is AFAB but is into women, they’ll make themselves a transgender male/masculine non-binary as a result of that which is wrong. You’re attracted to whoever you’re attracted to, and your sexuality and gender are not intertwined with one another. They are seperate identities.

There’s a lot of assumptions that you have to be either male or female to be transgender, and a lot of people make fun of how there are genders inbetween just like me. Sometimes, I feel like I’d be slightly more accepted if I was a binary trans gender rather than a non-binary one (although I’ll never really know, because I’m not a binary trans gender)

There’s a myth that we are just snowflakes or we are wanting to follow a trend or do what everyone around us is doing. This is untrue, this is really who we are and it’s not because we are “social justice warriors” or because it’s what our close friends are doing.

There’s also that misconception that our pronouns are ridiculous. In many languages, they include pronouns other than feminine and masculine pronouns. After a little learning and incorperating it into your everyday language, it’ll become easier.

 

There’s so much more than I could add to this, but I feel like it’s already so long as it is so I’ll just leave it here for now. I may make more specific and detailed posts in the future about misconceptions of my identities but, for now, this is what I have! What are some of the misconceptions you get from your identities?

A.W