Reading for Pride: Week 1

I’m reading LGBTQ books and only LGBTQ books this June for Pride month. Here are my thoughts on my first week of reading; all titles are linked to their Goodreads synopsis.

Between June 1st and 6th, I read:

Threshold by Jordan L. Hawk (2013)
Genre: historical/paranormal/romance
Audience: adult
Queer rep: Two main characters and a secondary character are gay
Thoughts: Book 2 in the Whyborne and Griffin series. (I read the first one, Widdershins, prior to June). Whyborne, a scholar, and Griffin, a private detective, investigate the strange happenings at the Threshold mine. I was a bit thrown by this book switching from the supernatural element being the occult (in book 1) to extraterrestrials. It’s a quick read, and I liked it better than the first book; the characters are more fleshed out. The writing is a bit quirky and the language in the sex scenes is a little bizarre (a mix of very old-fashioned and modern terminologies).

Stormhaven by Jordan L. Hawk (2013)
Genre: historical/paranormal/romance
Audience: adult
Queer rep: Two main characters are gay
Thoughts: Book 3 in the Whyborne and Griffin series. We’re back to the occult in this one. The characters continue to grow – and grow on me; I was not that impressed by the first book but I’ve been enjoying each one more. The quirky writing continues and the sex scenes feel very shoehorned in; I think they could be omitted entirely in most cases and done in fade-to-black in the rest without taking anything away from the book. Overall a fun series and one I plan to keep reading.

The Door into Sunset by Diane Duane (1992)
Genre: fantasy
Audience: adult
Queer rep: Essentially everyone is bi; there is also an agender fire spirit who manifests in both male and female human forms
Thoughts: Book 3 of the Tale of the Five trilogy; more books were planned but were never written. I’ve read a lot of Diane Duane, and she is one of my favorite authors. I absolutely love the world-building in this series, and how it is, at heart, traditional high fantasy – it just so happens that virtually everyone is queer, which is built into the world as completely natural. We need more books like this, where queerness is both important and accepted enough to be completely unremarked upon. This book was a very satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, although if the other planned books are ever written I’ll be happy to return to this world.

A Daughter of No Nation by A.M. Dellamonica (2015)
Genre: fantasy/adventure
Audience: adult, but a lot of crossover YA appeal
Queer rep: Two gay and one lesbian important secondary characters; some mentions of queer background characters (same-sex couples in crowd scenes and the like). Bonus: the author is queer.
Thoughts: Book 2 of the Hidden Sea Tales trilogy. In Book 1, Sophie Hansa was searching for her birth family in San Francisco when she discovered they – and she – are from another world, called Stormwrack, which is almost entirely ocean. She returns to Stormwrack here, along with her adopted brother Bram, as they continue to try to tease out the world’s secrets – is it an alternate Earth, or a future one? – while convincing the Stormwrack government that they are not outlander spies with ulterior motives. Not as fast-paced as the first one, but I enjoyed the world-building.

The Nature of a Pirate by A.M. Dellamonica (2016)
Genre: fantasy/adventure
Audience: adult, but a lot of YA crossover appeal
Queer rep: Three gay important secondary characters; some mentions of queer background characters. Bonus: the author is queer.
Thoughts: Sophie and Bram are still in Stormwrack, but their investigations into the world’s origins are sidetracked by the threat of war. Ships are beginning to mysteriously sink – a serious issue in a watery world – and conspiracies are wrapping around the many nations that make up the Fleet. The pacing has definitely picked back up here. My only real complaint is that this is billed as book 3 in a trilogy – that is, the final book – and yet there wasn’t a whole lot of resolution. It doesn’t end on a cliffhanger or anything, but there are still at least half a dozen threads that are left open for further exploration.

Olive Juice by T.J. Klune (2017)
Genre: contemporary
Audience: adult
Queer rep: Both main characters and a secondary character are gay. Bonus: the author is queer.
Thoughts: The synopsis of this book is rather vague, and that’s definitely intentional. I started reading it not quite sure what was happening and wham, the emotions. This is a short book, maybe technically a novella (132 pages), but it packs a punch. The writing was great, the story was a bit depressing, but it ultimately ends on a hopeful note.

The Suicidal Peanut by Matthew J. Metzger (2015)
Genre: contemporary
Audience: YA
Queer rep: The main character is gay; two important secondary characters are gay (one possibly is bi?), and another is trans; a minor secondary character is lesbian. Bonus: the author is queer.
Thoughts: This book was so sweet. It was another short one, 150 pages or so, and it was just delightful from start to finish. I couldn’t stop smiling while reading it and I’ve had a bad week so that’s really saying something. The characters were all realistic and relatable and I loved Tab’s quirky personal brand of polytheism (my perpetually unprepared self particularly liked his appeals to The God of Winging It).

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