Favorite LGBTQ+ Reads

Todays discussion is a Top 5 Wednesday topic where we’ll be discussing favourite books that feature LGBTQ+ characters or are by LGBTQ+ authors. Here is a link to the group if you’d like to participate in any discussions.

I’m really excited for today’s discussion, as I haven’t done a T5W in a while. But I’m also really excited because as a queer reader, I get to talk about LGBTQ+ books.

Of course I had to cheat this week and recommend a little over five books – so hopefully there will be something for everybody looking to get into LGBT+ fiction.

Highly Commended –  If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

The protagonist, Sahar is so thoughtful and I loved following her stream of conscious  Although this book features some mature themes, I do think it’s accessible for a variety of audiences. This book discusses the religious and political aspects regarding homosexuality in Iran exceptionally well.

Honourable Mention – None of The Above by I.W. Gregorio 

The exposition of intersexuality by Gregorio was great. The author does a great job of immersing the reader into Kristen’s shoes, so the reader experiences everything alongside the narrator. More over, the way Gregorio personified her characters was great. I remember it being just a little bit juvenile for me, but other than that it was a great read.

5, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

The most polarizing aspects of this book are the writing style, the main protagonist Aristotle and also the plot or lack thereof. However it absolutely captivated me and I loved reading about Ari and Dante’s budding relationship, it was very sweet and heartfelt. This book is both racially and sexually diverse and the representation of Mexican culture and the family dynamics was particularly great.

4. Jerkbait by Mia Siergert 

An incredibly heartwarming read that deals with a plethora of heavy subjects such as suicide, homophobia and gender stereotyping. Tristan is such a likeable narrator, and watching his relationship with his twin Robbie blossom was one of my favourite aspects of the story. Whilst the story is in Tristan’s perspective, the author also excellently illustrates Robbie’s tragic story unfold through Tristan’s eyes.

3. I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Jandy Nelson’s heavy metaphorically induced writing style made me quite nostalgic about Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me Trilogy. Initially I felt very alienated by it, but as I got to know the characters and essentially became apart of their complicated relationships – I couldn’t help but love this story. In a dual then and now perspective, Nelson illustrates heartbreaking moments between the twins and their journey to reconciliation.

2. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Of all the books I’m recommending to you today, this book is most definitely the tamest in regards to subject matter. It’s a cute, fluffy juvenile read, that felt really modern and I truly believe you can’t go wrong with it if that’s what you’re looking for. The progression of story was great as well. I can’t describe it to you other than how natural it felt. The author manages to construct really meaningful relationships between Simon and his friends and family and also Blue via emails. Also, the book was overall laugh out loud funny.

5. Cam Girl by Elliot Wake (formerly Leah Raeder)

Elliot Wake is one of my favourite authors. He has a hard-hitting, raw prose that is also beautifully lyrical. This book also deals with a lot of societal issues that I really appreciated and is both racially and sexually diverse. Wake is a transgender author, and has other LGBT+ related novels such as Black Iris and Bad Boy.  A lot of his work I would say is relatively dark and mature.

Thank you so much for reading my T5W list. If you have any LGBT+ books to recommend me please let me know in the comment section!

Justice League Dark, Volume Three: The Death of Magic

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Spoiler Free Review

Graphic Novels | DC Comics

Justice League Dark #3.0

My Rating: ★★★

From the three stars I’m sure you can gather I really enjoyed this graphic novel. And I can confirm I definitely did. I don’t think I liked it as much as Justice League Dark, Volume 2: The Books of Magic, as I did have some slight problems with it.

My first criticism is the very random and out of the blue romance between Deadman and Madame Xanadu. There was absolutely zero foreshadowing for this romance, in fact, I can barely remember a time they had a substantial conversation. In hindsight, I can see this is just a minor flaw but up until this point I was really enjoying the story-telling. Although had it been handled better, I can really see Deadman and Madame Xanadu becoming an item.

My second criticism is the biggest gripe I have with this graphic novel and it’s that Zatanna was barely in it. Was she in another graphic novel at this point in time and that’s why she wasn’t able to be in JLD? I’m not sure. However it would’ve been nice to have a more ‘human’ character on the team as well as another female character.

Apart from those slight gripes, I found the story really compelling. My favourite thing about Justice League Dark is that the basis of these stories are rooted and magic and I love it. Also, unlike a few graphic novels I’ve read this one felt really consistent with the story through-out and each issue intertwined with one another really well. The dialogue between the characters is typical very witty and I love the platonic chemistry they share. Although each character is great, Constantine provides the most comic relief and it’s fantastic.

There are also some guest appearances from the Flash and Swamp Thing! I’ve yet to read a graphic novel with Swamp Thing, and it’s always great to meet a new character in the DC Universe. I’m a huge fan of the Flash, courtesy of the CW’s show, as well as Geoff John’s Justice League, Volume 1: Origin series. Also I think guest appearances are really great as it livens up the story a little more and sometimes makes it a little more exciting when you add a new dynamic into the team.

I’m highly anticipating the next volume in this series (which will be whenever my library decides to get it!) and I have my fingers crossed for the return of Zatanna!

Birds of Prey, Volume One: Trouble in Mind

13532148I was really looking forward to Birds of Prey, Volume 1: Trouble in Mind. Perhaps I hyped myself up for it a little too much, because ultimately I’m feeling a tad disappointed.

As a relatively new comic reader, I was convinced that it would be great to get into these worlds through The New 52 titles. But I’m starting to notice a pattern with these titles and that is, they feel less like ‘new’ stories. I think it’s really misleading to attach ‘new’ to something, because I personally would anticipate reading about an origin story. Unfortunately Birds of Prey didn’t feel like an origin story, and I was more or less thrown into the deep end with this one.

This criticism doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the story. I think it has a lot of potential. But unfortunately because there was very little set up to the story and the characters, consequently I didn’t feel hugely connected to either. Black Canary and Starling (whom I’ve never even heard of before this comic, so she must be new to the DC world) are essentially already in a team before the story starts. I would’ve liked to see their formation as a team, seeing as this graphic is about said team.

I also thought the story-telling was quite weak. It felt very plain and that came off as quite juvenile to me. (But I will say that as of late, I’ve been on a huge fantasy bender, and so I could just used to more intricate writing styles.) Also at times I felt that I was experiencing over exposition. The story would be told through inner-monologue, and it was like having the plot spelled out to me. Instead, why not have the characters engage in dialogue?

Something I really enjoyed was the character designs and their costumes, I really liked how they reflected the character and who they are. Poison Ivy in particular looked really cool and I hadn’t seen her stylised that way before. I’m still unsure if she was wearing a suit, but she had these really cool black tendrils that would change on her face. Although the art was mainly consistent through-out the volume, I did notice a character had gone from having tan skin to whiter skin. I literally thought he was a whole other person. I understand they employ different artists sometimes from issue to issue, but if some things could just remain to avoid confusion on this idiots behalf (I’m talking about me here btw) that’d be great.

Despite not liking the first installment, I will definitely give this series a chance. The writer was clever and left this volume on a good cliffhanger that makes me really want to pick up the next volume!