Book Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

This is my FAVORITE Creekwood book. Like, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was great, but this one spoke directly to my soul.

Leah Burke is LITERALLY me. In high school I was the impoverished bi girl who had severe mental illness issues and preferred to BURN EVERYTHING TO THE GROUND rather than let anything slightly inconvenience me.

She, of course, has more supportive friends and family than I did, but her character resonated so much with me I literally cannot stop yelling about it.

All her fears, her wants, her needs…everything. She’s literally perfect. Or…well…fundamentally flawed, which is how I like my characters.

Her relationship with Abby literally had me SCREAMING for most of the book. They’re so cute and so precious. And I really wish they’d gotten together in book 1, but alas. It wouldn’t have been as sweet, in my opinion.

But seriously, Leah is my absolute favorite. And I feel like she really got shafted in the Love, Simon film because they made her openly like Simon. That does not fit her character at all, she only liked Simon when they were really young. Then she had a crush on his older sister.

I did spend a little bit of the book hoping she’d fall for Simon’s younger sister, but Leah/Abby is my OTP for life now.

This book is one of my absolute favorites!

Overall rating: ★★★★★★★★★★
(10/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Plot: 💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜
Characterization: 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

More About Leah on the Offbeat

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

Get your copy here on Amazon.

Book Review: Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

This book was so sweet and so cute. I absolutely love books that are in a series, but aren’t completely related to one another. I don’t know why, I’m just a total nerd for these types of books.

That said, I didn’t read the first book in the royals series. Mostly because it wasn’t LGBT and I’ve really been on an LGBT kick lately. BUT

This book. Was ADORABLE.

Millie and Flora are basically my endgame. When Millie was wasting her time with her friend Jude or whatever in the beginning of the book I literally wanted to punch her in the face. Like Go to Scotland and find your true love, Millie!

Flora in the beginning was high key annoying, but once she stopped being such a jerk to Millie I was like “Oh no she’s just prickly because she doesn’t trust people easily!” and honestly, same. I can totally relate.

This book was so sweet and cute and such a fun read. I did wish there was more of it. I don’t really like it when books end on the “We’re together!” part. And while this one didn’t technically do that, it sort of felt that way.

Millie and Flora have so many cute moments in the book, but I felt like their story needed more to really feel wrapped up at the end. Because there were a lot of people that opposed their relationship, including Flora’s own mom and that never really got resolved, so that sort of felt up in the air at the end.

Other than that, and a few minor complaints (Like how did Flora NOT know the animal of Scotland was the Unicorn when she is LITERALLY the princess of Scotland? Like I know that, Flora. And I’m an American. Yes, I know my family is Scottish & I’m first gen. Don’t @ me.) I thought this book was FANTASTIC.

I hope to read a lot more cute books by Rachel Hawkins!

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 👍👍👍👍
Plot: 👩‍❤️‍👩👩‍❤️‍👩👩‍❤️‍👩👩‍❤️‍👩👩‍❤️‍👩
Characterization: 👭👭👭👭👭
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

More About Her Royal Highness

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?

Get your copy here on Amazon.

I have 4 books!

It has come to my attention recently, after a few of my close friends yelled at me, that people don’t know I’ve written books.

So I’m here to set the record straight. My name is Desdemona Wren and I have written 4 books; 2 novels & 2 novellas and I’m going to tell you a little bit about them.

First up, The Marjorie Diaz series: Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society and Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Ancestral Politics & Foul Play.

The Marjorie Diaz series follows Marjorie Diaz, a 22 year-old Mexican American college student who manages to piss off some magical high royals and gets herself marked for death.

And while that seems like a very bad thing (TM), the story keeps cutting deeper and Marjorie discovers everyone has a secret, including her best friend.

This title is LGBT with acespec rep, lesbian rep, bisexual/pansexual rep, and transgender characters. There is also POC rep with Mexican American, Black American, Zimbabwean, and British Indian characters.

Next up, Bloom: A Monster Love Novella and Call Me Eli (my anthology piece).

Both of these books feature transgender characters in same-sex relationships.

Bloom: A Monster Love Novella is about Holly Juniper who falls for a nymph who comes through a portal in her barn. She gets more than she bargained for, when Nia helps her discover what she was truly meant to do.

Call Me Eli is about a transman who falls in love with a rock star when he shows up and hijacks Eli’s cab ride back from his impromptu concert at CosFest, a huge con he goes to with his best friend every year. It’s a Cinderella story, but with a fresh take. They’re adorable together and I’ll be rewriting their story when I get the rights back in August.

I have another few books I want to release this year: Nighthawks: A Monster Love Novella, A City of Glass and Sand, Marjorie 3, A Reverse Harem story, and The Incredible Origins of Suzie Q, Demon Hunter Extraordinaire.

To keep up with my books, what I’m up to, and get sneak peaks of my writing: sign up for my monthly newsletter on my website!

Hi. I’m Desdemona Wren and I have written a few books. No big deal (who am I kidding? YES big deal! Read them! They’re hella gay!)

It has come to my attention recently, after a few of my close friends yelled at me, that people don’t know I’ve written books.

So I’m here to set the record straight. My name is Desdemona Wren and I have written 4 books; 2 novels & 2 novellas and I’m going to tell you a little bit about them.

First up, The Marjorie Diaz series: Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Magical High Society and Marjorie Diaz’s Unfortunate Introduction to Ancestral Politics & Foul Play.

The Marjorie Diaz series follows Marjorie Diaz, a 22 year-old Mexican American college student who manages to piss off some magical high royals and gets herself marked for death.

And while that seems like a very bad thing (TM), the story keeps cutting deeper and Marjorie discovers everyone has a secret, including her best friend.

This title is LGBT with acespec rep, lesbian rep, bisexual/pansexual rep, and transgender characters. There is also POC rep with Mexican American, Black American, Zimbabwean, and British Indian characters.

Next up, Bloom: A Monster Love Novella and Call Me Eli (my anthology piece).

Both of these books feature transgender characters in same-sex relationships.

Bloom: A Monster Love Novella is about Holly Juniper who falls for a nymph who comes through a portal in her barn. She gets more than she bargained for, when Nia helps her discover what she was truly meant to do.

Call Me Eli is about a transman who falls in love with a rock star when he shows up and hijacks Eli’s cab ride back from his impromptu concert at CosFest, a huge con he goes to with his best friend every year. It’s a Cinderella story, but with a fresh take. They’re adorable together and I’ll be rewriting their story when I get the rights back in August.

I have another few books I want to release this year: Nighthawks: A Monster Love Novella, A City of Glass and Sand, Marjorie 3, A Reverse Harem story, and The Incredible Origins of Suzie Q, Demon Hunter Extraordinaire.

To keep up with my books, what I’m up to, and get sneak peaks of my writing: sign up for my monthly newsletter on my website!

Book Reviews: Death of a Bachelor by M.A Hinkle

Oh my gosh! I loved this book. I loved every second of it.

I am obsessed with Cathal. Like he and I are pretty much the same person. And Felix! I loved him so much.

Literally, this book is like a breath of fresh air! There is so much LGBTQIA+ representation in here that I really felt seen. There is acespec representation, bisexual representation, gay representation, lesbian representation, and I think there were even some straight people?

The romance is a juicy, juicy slowburn that took just enough time to woo me as a reader and convince me that Damon and Cathal belonged together. I was rooting for them for the whole book because these two broken men need each other to survive.

Cathal especially since he can’t cook and spends all of his “alone time” eating instant ramen and not knowing what half of the stuff Damon cooks is. I love how clueless and adorable he was about cooking, but how smart he was about space.

At the end of the book, I’m pretty sure even Era shipped them from beyond the grave. She had a hand in getting them together, after all. I like to imagine her ghost chatting with Felix casually about it over a box of Lucky Charms. Her two broken boys finding comfort in one another after her loss.

Great, now I’m crying again.

Seriously, though. This book was incredible. It was a little slow in the beginning, but once it picks up it picks up FAST and I read the bulk of it in just a few days. I cannot wait to see more from M.A Hinkle!

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 👍👍👍👍👍
Plot: 😄😄😄😄😄
Characterization: 🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

I cannot wait for the next book in the series that focuses on Felix and the twins. I know it is going to be as incredible, if not moreso than this one. I love M.A Hinkle and I’m willing to bet I’m going to be a life-long fan.

Review: Return to Sender by Roberta Blablanski

I am literally still happy sobbing as I type this. I am so glad I read this book!

This story is so beautiful and kind from the very beginning. I’m not a fan of M/M stories, which I know is really unfair because I’m an LGBTQIA+ author, but I find that most M/M stories are not written by people in the community and aren’t a good representation of gay culture as a whole, but that was definitely not the case with Return to Sender.

From the very beginning, this story had me hooked. The romance and family and just love in this book had me crying happy and sad and just emotional tears almost the whole time I was reading it.

I read this story in literally a single day. It’s a novella, so it wasn’t that hard, but that is a feat for me. I usually have to keep putting books down to do other things, but this book in particular just really spoke to me and was always on my mind.

I loved that all the smut scenes were fade to black because that was so on brand for Drew and Wes! They deserved all their privacy and their secret stolen moments after everything they’d been through.

The writing was amazing and expressive and full of emotion and I didn’t ever once think “this is a first-person POV novel” because I was never pulled out of the narrative long enough to ever question anything about the mechanics of the book. I cannot praise Return to Sender enough. It was truly an amazing read.

Roberta, this story was literally brilliant. I cannot think of a story more deserving of a 5-star review from me. I loved it so much and I cannot wait to see what you write next.

Overall rating: ★★★★★
(5/5 Stars)

Rating breakdown:
Prose: 👍👍👍👍👍
Plot: 😄😄😄😄😄
Characterization: 👨‍🔧👨‍🏫👧👨‍🔧👨‍🏫
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

This book brought me so much joy and so much pain. Honestly, I recommend it to everyone who loves LGBT lit.

Review: Never Letting Go by Liv Devereaux

This was very, very short and read like an unedited Wattpad story. I really like that Devereaux continues to write f/f and LGBT fiction, but I can’t help but think that this sort of writing is a little detrimental to the community.

As an LGBT author myself, I am all for supporting other people who write for the community and Devereaux is not a bad author. On the contrary, I do enjoy a lot of their work, but I find myself wishing they could be a little better.

This story was over in the blink of an eye, though I did like the narrative of two estranged lovers coming back together, I wish Devereaux would have explored this further in a longer story. I know we get the explanation toward the end as to what happened between them and how they ended up like this, but it all felt really flat.

I fully believe Devereaux has an incredible talent that they have yet to explore fully and will continue to read and advocate for their books with a little bit of constructive criticism thrown in. Keep writing, Devereaux, you’re out here fighting the good fight and filling the world with so much needed wlw representation.

I look forward to the next project I read by you.

Overall rating: ★★★
(3/5 Stars)

Rating breakdown:
Prose: 👍👍
Plot: 😄😄😄😄
Characterization:
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥

I would like to see better characterization and prose writing from Devereaux in the future.

Review: Not Your Villain by C.B Lee (Audible)

I got this title on audible like I do most of my traditional publishing reads and as much as it pains me because I adored the first one, I’m going to have to DNF book 2.

I love Bells and I would have loved to follow his story especially his whole Chameleon thing, but C.B Lee doesn’t do anything interesting with him. Most of the book he pines over Emma in the most annoying way possible.

Then he whines when she gets a boyfriend and starts acting like a bad friend. Which was so annoying to me and made even more annoying by the voice actor they had reading the book that I had to stop listening.

Not to mention, Lee completely mischaracterizes Jess. It’s like this book was written by a completely different person. In book 1, Jess loved running and training and she wanted to be a hero. In book 2, Jess is a whiny lazy grump who is useless on most missions.

This turned me off so badly because I really genuinely loved Jess and seeing her stripped down to a whiny comic relief archetype was horrible.

You’re better than this, C.B Lee and I really agonized over giving this book a bad review because I loved the first one so much, but I cannot continue to struggle through reading this.

Overall rating: ★
(1/5 Stars – DNF)

Rating breakdown:
Prose: 👍👍
Plot: 😄
Characterization:
Boredom meter:

I really hope the next novel C.B Lee puts out is better than this.

Book Review: Not Your Sidekick by C.B Lee

I listened to this book on Audible as I do with most of my traditionally published reads these days.

Also, has anyone else noticed my penchant to read Asian Authors who write LGBT? Malinda Lo, Stephanie Ahn, Natasha Ngan, and now C.B Lee.

Not Your Sidekick is a book that follows Jessica Tran, a very awkward disaster bi (who is openly bi in the book) with a crush on the beautiful Abby Jones.

Now with the whole crushy crush business out of the way, allow me to tell you, while there is plenty of cute mushy (and awkward) moments between Abby and Jess, most of the story revolves around Jess trying to find out if she has superpowers.

There has been a crazy influx in superpower books being published as of late. I know, because I’ve read a bunch of them. Because for some reason, and thank god for this, a lot of them are LGBT (with a focus on FF) and this one did not disappoint.

Not only is bisexuality represented, so is homosexuality, transsexuality, and heterosexuality. Hell, there’s probably a few ace people sprinkled in, but I’m only listing what people openly identified as in the book.

The story is excellent. There are times where I felt it was a little too juvenile for me, but since I’m well over the age of the main characters, this was to be expected. This is an excellent YA title with LGBT themes.

I absolutely adored the awkward slow burn between Abby and Jess and the side flirtation between Bells and Emma. I am really, REALLY looking forward to the second book with Bells as the narrator: Not Your Villain that is on my TBR next!

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(4/5 Stars.)

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 👍👍👍👍
Plot: 😄😄😄😄
Characterization: 👩👩👩
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥

I loved this book, but sometimes the characters could come over really whiny or one-dimensional. And I’m really mad about what happened to Claudia.

Book Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Going into this book I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew it was an LGBT read, and anyone who knows me knows those are my kryptonite, as in I will literally give any LGBT book or author a chance in the name of supporting LGBT becoming a future staple of the writing industry.

A lot of reviews of this book were on the negative side, bashing Ngan for writing a book containing a lesbian relationship. Because, god forbid gays find the representation they deserve in the writing community 🙄 .

Let me start this review by saying this book has excellent worldbuilding. There were so many times where I sat here in silence processing the beautiful picture Ngan paints.

The moon caste demons are a feast for the eyes. Their descriptions are rich and wondrous. So are the steel caste demons and hell, even the descriptions of the paper caste humans were incredible.

I was so invested in the world Ngan created I definitely slacked off on reading all my other books. I have to say I was a little disappointed that Lei fell in love with a paper caste woman and not a moon or steel caste, but that’s just the teratophiliac in me.

There was one thing other than the world building and characterization I found to be incredible. And it isn’t something a lot of people think about, but there’s a scene in the book where Lei wonders why it’s okay for men to be with other men while it was taboo for women to be with other women.

To be honest, I think this reflects keenly on the writing industry as a whole. The entire reason I became an author was because of this whole mess of MM books being the only LGBT offerings when the world needed more FF representation (and rep for the more marginalized LGBT groups: trans, bi, poly, pan, ace, etc.). That scene really struck a chord with me because of this.

Now, Ngan may not have meant it that way, but that’s how I interpreted it and it made me feel really seen.

I cannot wait to read book 2.

Overall rating:★★
4/5 stars

Rating breakdown

Prose: 😻😻😻😻😻

Plot: 👹👹👹👹

Characterization: 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩 👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩

Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

The beginning was really slow to start and it took me a long time to get into it, but once I hit my stride, I listened to it every single night.

More about Girls of Paper and Fire

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.

But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.