soc_puppet: Dreamsheep as Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time (Default)
Brief side note to say that I finished the audiobook of Zen Cho's The True Queen, and the queer subtext from the first book? Is officially canon text, and also the "general queerness" knob was turned up to, like, eleven for this book, so.

If you like period romances, or might like them if the were only more racially diverse and also had magic and dragons and queer people and stuff (and also I am 100% interpreting one of the main characters as dyslexic), I highly recommend this series. First book is Sorcerer to the Crown, only two out so far, hopefully more to come???
soc_puppet: [Homestuck] God tier "Doom" themed Dreamsheep (DOOOOOOOM)
I'm going to preface this by saying that this is not a standard review. Dreadnought by April Daniels is a fantastic book, a necessary book, and in its way, every bit as wish-fullfilment-y as the Tales of Inthya books by Effie Calvin or the Mangoverse books by Shira Glassman.

However, it is also a very intense book, and since the MCU re-popularized non-grimdark superhero films, there was a lot of content I wasn't prepared for when I went in.

The most basic summary of the plot is Danni, a closeted trans girl and lesbian, happens to be in the wrong place at the right time and inherits the powers of the most powerful superhero on the planet. The powers also come with gender-affirming body modification. Danni then must deal with social gender transitioning while also learning what it means and how to be a superhero, and tracking down the killer of the previous Dreadnought.

This book gets recommended a lot (again, deservedly so), but I can't recall ever seeing even a partial list of content warnings for it, and as I said above, there's a lot in the book I wasn't prepared for. It's been at least a year since I listened to the audiobook, IIRC, so this is going to be from memory, but I think I managed to remember most of them.

The first part is going to be plain list of the content warnings; the second part will have the warnings in better context. Again, both lists will be dependent on my memory. If anyone remembers some warnings that I've missed and which should be included, please let me know so I can include them.

I've also include a lot of white space between the basic warnings and the warnings in context, to help people control their spoiler levels to their preference.

Basic Content Warnings )

Warnings With Context )

Did I regret the time/money/resources I spent on this book? No, but I really, really would have appreciated/benefited from getting some of the warnings I just listed, which is why I wanted to provide them for other potential readers.
soc_puppet: [Homestuck] God tier "Mind" themed Dreamsheep (Sheep of Mind)
Advertisement for The Queen of Ieflaria by Effie Calvin

Ad by the author, who followed up by saying she is "the very best at marketing". Which must be true, because I absolutely went out and bought this book because of this ad.

The excellent news: Not only did I not regret it, upon finishing I went and immediately bought the sequel, and am now sitting on tenterhooks awaiting the third book.

The Queen of Ieflaria features alternating POV between the two main characters (and romantic interests), Esofi and Adale. Princess Esofi has been engaged to be married to Adale's twin brother since a very young age, in no small part to forge an alliance between their countries. Unfortunately, the brother in question dies shortly before the book begins, leaving Adale to take his place in the contract. At first unenthusiastic, Adale warms to the prospect almost immediately after meeting accomplished mage Esofi - only to be faced with competition from her grasping, power-hungry cousins. Esofi, meanwhile, must pick between the three of them, all while trying to figure out why the country she will so be queen of has so few mages, and, with help from the battlemages in her entourage, defending everyone in the capitol from dragon attacks.

Good, accessible high fantasy, with lots and lots of queer characters, including explicitly nonbinary characters (and gods!); no enby MCs yet, but I live in hope! To people who like dragons as things other than thoughtless killing machines, I promise that you will be satisfied by the time you get to the end. My only complaint is that the names didn’t always come naturally to my mental pronunciation, but that’s very minor on the scale of things. Also, like Shira Glassman, Effie Calvin is aiming to make the books possible to start from anywhere in publication order, so you don't have to read them chronologically for them to make sense (even though there's only two out so far).

The author's website is over here, with a map of the countries and a couple of free short stories - though Ioanna is very mildly spoilery for the second book, and The Gift is quite spoilery for the first.

Anyway, my brain has been on the fuzzy side for weeks now, so I'm going to leave it there, but definitely worth checking out if you like wish-fulfillment-y f/f fantasy stuff!
soc_puppet: [Homestuck] God tier "Doom" themed Dreamsheep (DOOOOOOOM)
I ended up listening to more on the way to work today (after literal weeks of avoiding it), and I just.

I gotta talk about this book, okay. It is a trainwreck, and if I don't start talking about it, all of my thoughts are going to explode.

So, here are a bunch of spoilers )

Anyway, I'm currently planning to finish the book, if only for the I Can't Look Away factor, but yeah. Definitely a trainwreck. "Lord of the Flies But With Beauty Queens and a Trans Girl" is very much not the description I would use.

It's also something I would consider for a deconstruction, actually, together with Cinder. I may have to give that idea some more thought.
soc_puppet: [Homestuck] God tier "Rage" themed Dreamsheep (Sheep of Rage)
Oh my gosh, look at this! It's content! Content that I said I would write! And now I'm actually writing it, here and now! IT'S A MIRACLE!

Moving right along, here is some book-y backstory. It took me a loooong time to pick up this book. ("This book" being Cinder, by Marissa Meyer.) I looked at it in Barnes and Noble once, then put it back down, deciding that it didn't quite grab me. I walked past it in Target on my way to the DVD section with fair frequency, and still didn't think much of it past, "Eh, I dunno. I'd rather spend my money on DVDs or yarn." What finally got me to give it more consideration was when Audible was doing a two-books-for-one-credit sale and it was listed as one of the optional titles. I'm big on audiobooks these days, since I've got that long commute to work.

Not that I picked it up from Audible. No, I decided to wait and give it more thought, and maybe if I saw it again the next time Audible did such a sale, I would do it. And then I saw the audiobook on display at the library and decided to give the blurb a re-read. Set in New Beijing, it read. An Asian Cinderella? I thought. It could be, right? Nay, it must be! And you don't get a much better price than free, whether or not I'd have to return it. So I decided to check it out, in the interest of what I assumed would be both a fairytale revamp (one of my favorite things) with a main character of color (another one of my favorite things).

Oh what disappointment awaited me! Click the cut to find out exactly what disappointment did await me )

Anyway, that's what I remember being horrified by in the book. There are probably reviewers out there who would be able to critique every little sociological bit and piece and point out how wrongity-wrong-wrong it all is, but that's not what I was going for in this review (though I do enjoy reading that sort of review all too often). I was going for how this book is a hot mess of racism and ablism, and I think I proved that. Read with caution, or at least with knowledge, if you choose to read it.
soc_puppet: Words "Baseless Opinion" in orange (Baseless Opinion)
Bisexual Books on Tumblr has had me buying a lot of books recently 9_9a I just finished reading one I got yesterday and thought I'd write a review :3

The Second Mango by Shira Glassman is a charming and delightful read. Anyone who's looking for diversity in stories and characters will find it here: the first/primary main character, Shulamit, is a lesbian with medium brown skin, who is gluten-intolerant (possibly Celiac, though the fantasy world doesn't have a specific term for that) and can't have poultry either. The primary (only?) religion in the world is Judaism, and while I'm sure I missed a lot of Jewish subtext and symbolism (raised Catholic as I was), what I caught was delightful and refreshing.

Spoilers abound below )

Warnings )

All in all, The Second Mango was a quick, fun read, and something I would recommend to anyone looking for a diverse cast of characters to spend an afternoon with.
soc_puppet: Words "Humorless Feminist" in pink (Humorless Feminist)
So, guess what book I just finished? 8D Ahahaha, yeah, pointless question.

Before I get started, I'd like to offer some general Content Notes for the book itself, for those who choose to read it and might have triggers to deal with. They are pretty significant spoilers for the book, so I've hidden them under spoiler blockers. Highlight to read. [Content Notes: Violence, consent issues. Scroll to the sixth big paragraph under the cut for more detail on the latter.]

Now, be warned for YET MORE MASSIVE SPOILERS as I go over some details of the book itself 8) They're hidden under a cut, so if you don't want to be spoiled, go no farther.


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