Category Archives: Recommendation

Where I discuss things that I would recommend for others. This could be a book, movie, series, or what have you that I think someone could find interest in.

June in Review: LGBTQ+ Books

With June coming to a close, I thought I would go over books that I have read this month.  If you have read my post at the beginning of the month, which you can find here: you’ll know that I recommended some LGBTQ+ centered books.  In it, I mentioned how every so often I will pick a theme for what I will read in a particular month.  This gives me an opportunity to try new books and possibly find new books that I might just enjoy.  This June, I decided to do a Pride Month theme.  I had a few books lined up already that either involved LGBTQ+ characters or themes or was written by someone in the LGBTQ+ community, it lined up perfectly.

I read thirteen books and graphic novels this month that had LGBTQ+ themes and characters.  These are the ones I would recommend. And while I will try to avoid spoilers as much as possible, I will include a little Minor Spoilers warning just in case.

From Bad to Cursed by Lana Harper

I had started this book towards the end of May and at the beginning of June.  I also included this book on my recommendation list since it was part of a series and I had already read the first book.  It only seemed fair to include it there because of that.  But now that I have finished it, I am going to do a separate mini review and recommendation.  As well as discuss a theory I had and whether or not it was true.

To start off, I really enjoyed this story.  I enjoyed Isidora and the story that this novel had.  I also enjoyed the enemies to lovers take that this story took.  It took it’s time and didn’t feel like it rushed into a romance between Rowan and Isidora.  It also approached the rivaling families and learning more about the other through the two leads well. 

If I had to critique anything about it, it would probably be a few uninteresting scenes and I guess I found the miscommunication around Isidora and Rowan when they first kissed and such a tad annoying.

Now in my recommendation, I theorized why From Bad to Cursed could have been included in the LGBT sub-tag/category of the Romance tag.  In it I stated how it was possibly Rowan could have been trans, thinking that that could have been what Isidora learned about Rowan.  He could have also been bi, which was a speculation I had after making the post and as I was reading the first quarter or so of the book.  With out spoiling really much, Rowan isn’t either.  So I will assume that people were tagging it with LGBT because other characters in the story are.

Either way, I did enjoy this book.  Between the two, I might like Payback’s a Witch a bit more, but I did like this book.

Miss Memory Lane by Colton Haynes

I was introduced to Colton Haynes through his portrayal of Roy Harper on CW’s Arrow.  Roy was one of my favorite characters from the show, if only a little underutilized/underdeveloped at times. Roy Harper is also one of my favorite DC characters, and I thought Colton did really well.

This autobiography caught my eye after a coworker and friend of mine did an ARC review for it.  Based on the synopsis on the inside cover, I thought it would be an interesting and deep self reflection.  It was and then some.  I knew some of the topics discussed might not have been easy to talk about, however, this book held no punches.  And that, is something I found fascinating and honest.  It was well written and Colton didn’t hold any punches.

It does touch some sensitive topic, so if you do plan on reading this, which I would recommend,  I do want to give readers that forewarning.  It’s a really good memoir and is worth a read.

Dana Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake

Working at a library has its perks.  Every now and then you may find a book returned or circulating that catches your eye.  That’s kind of the case with this book.  While that cover and title certainly grabbed my curiosity, it was the description on the back cover that sparked my interest.  Similar to From Bad to Cursed this appears to be part of a planned trilogy.  But unlike From Bad to Cursed this is the first book.

Dana Green Doesn’t Care is a fun read if your looking for a not so traditional spin on the wedding planning goes wild trope.  The second book Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail is set to release in November 2022 and book three Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date has an expected publication of some time next year.

I did enjoy this book for the most part. I enjoyed the chemistry between Claire and Delilah as well as how their relationship progressed and it was a fun spin on the wedding rom com. I also like how the reason for them wanting to split Astrid and her fiancé up wasn’t exactly malicious and them not liking him ultimately having some backing as they would later find out. How they went about it could have been different, but it wasn’t like they were out to get Astrid because of Delilah’s rocky relationship with her or feeling like marriage was going to take her away from her friends.

My only critique comes in the form of how it feels a bit Hallmark-like or cliché with the whole Astrid and Delilah making a bet about the latter getting with Claire. Maybe it was just me, but especially during the climax and resolution, it did feel a little formulaic/familiar. Not that I didn’t think Claire and Delilah shouldn’t get together, because they did have great chemistry. It just felt a little odd to me.

A Quick and Easy Guide to Asexuality by Molly Muldoon and Will Hernandez

As the title suggests, this is a quick and easy guide to asexuality. I found myself reading a few nonfiction books this month and this was a fun and quick read. It’s a graphic novel and I found it to be informative in a simple and knowledgeable way. It was the shortest book I read for Pride Month, clocking in at 72 pages, and is a part of a five book series. The other books in this series include A Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns, A Quick and Easy Guide to Consent, A Quick and Easy Guide to Sex and Disability, and A Quick and Easy Guide to Queer and Trans Identities.

A Quick and Easy Guide to Queer and Trans Identities by Mady G and J.R. Zuckerberg

Speaking of other books in the series, I did read two other books in the series. The third, I will get into in a moment, but I thought I would discuss this one first. Much like A Quick and Easy Guide to Asexuality I found this to be a fun and informed read. It does set it up in a way that is simple and easy to understand.

A Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson

I’ll most likely read the other two books in the series, however, I wasn’t sure if I would get A Quick and Easy Guide to Sex and Disability in time since I had to have it shipped from another library than the two I work at, and it could take a while, and A Quick and Easy Guide to Consent will depend on whether or not it gets to me in time.

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Having seen this series get a lot of traction at the library, I was curious and decided to check it out. This is a Young Adult/Teen graphic novel series that currently has four volumes out with a fifth on the way and a few tie ins including a Detroit Becomes Human styled what if and a mini comic. As well as a coloring book.

I’m caught up, and I have to say that I am really enjoying it. Nick and Charlie feel relatable, with each having struggles that readers can relate to. The art is nice and is a coming of age that isn’t afraid to shy away from serious topics that teens may find themselves relating to.

This series got a Netflix adaptation back in April of this year. I really enjoyed it for it being a sweet and realistic coming of age that deals with everyday drama of high-school while being LGBTQ+.

Batman Urban Legends

Batman Urban Legends is a series that has been on my reading list since I heard about what this issue confirmed. I’ll admit my motivation to read DC has been at a bit of a lull. With DC Rebirth, the overarching DC run that picked up after the New 52, ending and me feeling a bit burnt out from Nightwing’s Joker War tie-in and not knowing what to pick up next, I took a break from DC Comics. This is also around the time I started picking up the X-Men comics.

As I mentioned, Batman Urban Legends has been on my reading list for a while, however, it wasn’t until recently that I got motivated to jump into it. That and Sandman are currently on my list of DC reads, with the latter being recommended to me by a friend and so that I can prepare for the Netflix adaptation coming out in August. I do own Batman Urban Legends and after reading it, I thought it was enjoyable. The issue with Tim coming out as bi being the reason I wanted to check it out.

I currently only have the first volume, which cover stories centering around Red Hood and Grifter separately. So while this volume might not have had the issues I was looking for, I would still recommend it and I will be getting volume two as soon as possible. That is where Tim comes out as bisexual and asks his friend (now boyfriend) Bernard out on a date. Overall, I would say that I am enjoying this series so far and would recommend it.


With some fiction and nonfiction, I hope I was able to help you find a book worth reading. If not, I hope you enjoyed this recommendation.

I’ll leave you with a few questions. Did you do any reading? If so, what? What are LGBTQ+ books you’ve read and would recommend?

When Genres Compel Me: Five Books I Enjoyed From Genres I Don’t Normally Read

Has you ever read a book in a genre you don’t normally read that you found yourself enjoying? With so many genres out there, no one is going to like all of them. And sometimes, the genres we do enjoy may shift over the years.

Personally, I tend to enjoy fantasy, historical fiction, and general fiction with the occasional science fiction and nonfiction read. Fantasy has been a staple for me, having read and watched it since childhood. Historical fiction is a genre that I read when I find an interesting synopsis, though I typically will avoid World War 2 since I was never really a fan of the older WWII movies as a kid. Fiction, in my opinion, is a simple one that can’t go too wrong.

Genres I typically don’t read because they never really catch my eye include, westerns, romance, mystery/thriller, the aforementioned World War 2 historical fiction, and horror. All of these are good genres I’m sure, just not my cup of tea. And if you enjoy them, that’s great. Just because I don’t enjoy it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

With that said, I’d be remiss if I said I haven’t found at least one book in a genre I don’t particularly fancy. In fact, I have found a few books from genres I don’t normally read that I actually enjoyed.

The Power of the Dog

By Thomas Savage


This is probably one of the most recent examples of a book that I found interest in from a genre I don’t normally read. Westerns have never really been my thing. I think I can pinpoint that to me not really liking John Wayne movies as a kid. I can understand why people like westerns (and John Wayne movies), but I do believe that my disinterest in John Wayne movies, at least in part, resulted in a disinterest in westerns as a whole.

However, a few months ago, while browsing social media, a person I follow was kind of discussing the Netflix adaptation of Thomas Savage’s The Power of the Dog. In it, she was inquiring about a particular scene, specifically a scene towards the end of the movie, and how much one of the characters might have known about the situation. It got me curious and I am thankful that she didn’t spoil it for me in the comments.

So I checked it out. The movie first and then the book. And let me just say, I really enjoyed it. It’s not a typical western, a.k.a. what you might picture when you hear western. Rather, a western that explored things like appearances not always being as they seem, the cruelty of one man, and the implications of being a closeted gay man in the 1920’s.

It’s a book that I can enjoy as I really appreciated how the author broke down the characters and how you shouldn’t judge people based on what you see. I would recommend giving it a read and/or a watch, though I know it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

The Star and the Shamrock Series

By Jean Grainger

World War 2

Here’s my World War 2 series. Much like westerns, I think I was never really a big fan of them because of John Wayne movies, and war movies in general not being my favorite in general. The history of wars is important, no doubt about it. However, when it comes to historical fiction, books centering around war don’t typically catch my interest.

The reason I picked this one up was because it sounded interesting and I have a bit of a soft spot for books involving Ireland, Irish culture, Irish history, and so on. When Liesl and Erich Bannon, the children of a Jewish German woman, are sent to live with family via one of the last Kindertransport, they must learn to get used to their new lives. Elizabeth, their aunt, does whatever she can to keep them safe. Though it’s not as peaceful as they would have hoped. Meanwhile, their mother stays behind trying to do what she can to survive.

As the series progresses, we get to see how the family grows. How they may one be reunited with their mother. As well as what Liesl and Eric’s lives are like years after the war ends.

The series is a bit of a quick read with there only being four books and roughly two hundred to two hundred and sixty or so pages per book. While it might not be as action packed as some World War 2 centered books, this is a series that is a nice read.

Sherlock Holmes

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Mysteries, fiction, and romance seem to be the big three when it comes to sections. Especially at libraries, which I can confirm given I work at two. While fantasy and science fiction may be lumped together (not always, but I’ve seen it). If I had to rank fiction, mystery and romance in which I would be most likely to read, it would probably be fiction than mystery than romance. I can say that I’ve tried more mysteries than I have romances, but even so, it’s not a genre that I actively enjoy. Finding the right mystery is part of the problem. The overabundance of James Patterson releases is another.

Sherlock Holmes seems to be the one I am drawn to the most. After checking out the third season of BBC’s Sherlock (yes, I watched it out of order, but it couldn’t be helped), I got hooked. So I ended up checking out the all in one book as well as some of the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes DVDs (which I would recommend) and enjoyed every bit of it. I also plan to add the complete collection to my leather bound classics collection because I’d rather have the whole series together instead of the individual volumes (Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, His Last Bow, and The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes).

I may not read a lot of mysteries but this is one I would go back and read. Sherlock Holmes is a classic and I would recommend it.

Atlas of the Heart

Brené Brown


Nonfiction is a genre that I’ll occasionally read. Typically about animals, biographies/autobiographies, psychology and mental health, entertainment, and writing. Self-Help books aren’t normally on my radar for no other reason than none appealing to me. Along came Brené Brown’s book “Atlas of the Heart” and after reading the synopsis, I was curious.

It’s a book that I personally enjoyed. It’s set up in a way that didn’t seem condescending or overly positive and provides insight from the author. I enjoyed how it breaks down several emotions and seeing the author’s perspective on them. I ended up purchasing the book after finding it in a shop while at the airport since it was a book that I wanted to ad to my collection.

It’s a book that I personally enjoyed. It’s set up in a way that didn’t seem condescending or overly positive and provides insight from the author. I enjoyed how it breaks down several emotions and seeing the author’s perspective on them. I ended up purchasing the book after finding it in a shop while at the airport since it was a book that I wanted to ad to my collection.


By Bram Stoker


This might be cheating a little since I haven’t started Dracula yet, but it is on my To Read list and I own the leather bound edition. However, I wouldn’t say horror is a genre I really read. Not because I don’t enjoy horror, but because I’d rather watch horror instead of reading horror.

I will admit I was that kid who hated horror as a kid because I never liked “scary” movies. Chucky freaked me out and I don’t recall liking Jurassic Park or Jaws for how gruesome they were. Though looking back, they aren’t that gruesome on a technical level, but kid me perceived it as such.

Since then, I’ve grown to enjoy horror and will watch the occasional horror flick as they play on tv or through streaming services. Especially around Halloween. So the enjoyment of horror isn’t lost on me.

But watching it is different than reading it. And I feel the essence of horror is different between reading it and watching it. Watching it gives viewers a spectacle. The ambiance and tone gives off a chilling and unexpected experience. Reading it, I feel, lends itself to chilling and more detailed descriptions and scares. However, that difference could be how I am perceiving it at the moment.

As for why Dracula, I guess it just sounds appealing. It’s a classic and one that I feel like I would really enjoy reading. And since I enjoy the occasional gothic classic (Hunchback of Notre Dame and Phantom of the Opera), Dracula feels similar in style.


While these five genres are not genres I usually read, they are genres I have found at least one book that I enjoy. Are there any books that interest you from genres that you don’t usually read? Are there any you would recommend?

Alpha and Omega: A Guilty Pleasure Read and Why I Prefer This Series to Mercy Thompson

A while back I had created a post discussing one of my favorite guilty pleasure reads, the urban fantasy series Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs. While I may no longer have that blog around, I thought I would revisit this series, why I enjoy it, and why I like it over the author’s longer running and more popular Mercy Thompson series set in the same universe.

Urban Fantasy: a Subsection of Fantasy

I’ll admit, I am not much of a reader of the Urban Fantasy subgenre. Not many really caught my eye with the exception of Patricia Briggs’ two series on-going series. For those of you who may not be familiar with this subgenre, Urban Fantasy can be defined as a type of fantasy taking place in a more modern day and, well, urban setting.

What kind of Clichés Might Urban Fantasy be Guilty of?

Like any kind of genre or subgenre, Urban Fantasy does fall victim to tropes/clichés.

  • Heavy reliance on romance
  • How the romance is developed
  • Love triangles
  • Usually focusing more on vampires and werewolves
  • Age gaps
  • Leads who readers can’t help but wonder how they stay together

Why I consider it my guilty pleasure genre

I consider this a guilty pleasure because, while I enjoy fantasy, this is a subgenre that I mostly avoid. And while I’m sure there are plenty of good Urban Fantasy series, I feel like it is a niche subgenre. Meaning, it’s a subgenre that, feels like it has a set target audience. At least that’s how I see it, as I don’t see Urban Fantasy being a genre everyone will whip out.

Alpha and Omega: Why I Like it. Flaws?

The Alpha and Omega series is a series that branched off of the Mecy Thompson series. Both take place in the same universe (the Mercyverse as it has been dubbed), but rather than focusing on Mercy, her romance, and the creatures around her, Alpha and Omega focuses on Anna and Charles (the son of the North American Alpha and adopted father of Mercy). Anna was saved from her abusive pack by Charles and it is soon discovered that she is a rare breed of werewolf: An Omega, who are known for their calming presence and being able to soothe the pack.

Along the way, she alongside Charles, who is her partner/husband, go on various adventures usually with Charles tasked to keep an eye on or handle issues his father needs enforcing. Like Mercy Thompson, this series explores various fantasy staples with Anna learning more about herself, love, and overcoming her traumas from her previous pack. As of right now, this series currently has five books and a prequel novella that can be found in collections like Shifting Shadows as well as the hardcover copy of the first book, Cry Wolf.

What are the Flaws?

I would say that it’s biggest flaw may come in the form of it fitting into a savior complex trope and some scenes either feeling odd or unneeded. While maybe not an overemphasized trope, one could see Charles as being this savior to Anna. Saving her from her previous pack was important for the story and her character, however, readers could find some aspects of their relationship fitting into this trope. I don’t interpret it that way, but I do feel like it could be interpreted that way.

When it comes to odd scenes, I can think of one from the fifth book, Burn Bright. This scene is actually one that seems to be generally critiqued when it comes to what reviewers didn’t like about the book. Basically, the scene in question has to do with a comment made between Anna and Charles about Bran and his relationship with Mercy. Specifically how Bran might have developed something more than just a parental feeling towards her. I agree with this critique as it does feel weird and out of place.

Those are my main critiques. While some people might find the clichés annoying, they don’t bug me enough to turn me away. It doesn’t feel like it goes too overboard, for me anyways, and I would know when it does. That scene in Burn Bright, however, I can see why it would turn readers away. It hasn’t turned me away, though it does hinder my enjoyment of the fifth book.

Why Do I Like Alpha and Omega More Than Mercy Thompson?

While Mercy Thompson has the longer run and appears to be the more popular of the two, you may be wondering why I enjoy the Alpha and Omega series more. It took me a minute, but I’ve narrowed it down to three main reasons.

Reading Alpha and Omega First

The Alpha and Omega series was the first of the two I picked up. I believe I decided to give it a try after I saw Burn Bright when it was first released back in 2018. And since it was the fifth book, I ended up reading the entire series. Then again when I was reading the Mercy Thompson series, since the two intertwine without really interacting with the other series. Cry Wolf, the first book in the series excluding the prequel novella, is my favorite. It’s also the book I’ve read the most. Because while it might not be perfect, I think it was a great first book to the series. It set everything up in a neat way.

Had I read the Mercy Thompson series first, I may have liked that one more. However, when I was introduced to both series isn’t the only reason I like the Alpha and Omega series.

Length of the Series

So long as the series is good, how long it runs might not matter. Shows like PBS’ Arthur and Doctor Who are examples of longer shows having typically positive responses. One Piece and Boxcar Children would be examples for longer running book series that are enjoyed.

That said, longevity can either make or break a series. If there is enough material to last without feeling repetitive or stale as well as having a foreseeable end goal, that’s great. But not all series have that grace. For example, Once Upon a Time, the ABC original series. While seven series might not sound like too terrible of a run, there were times where it could have ended. While some people might say it started going downhill earlier, I personally think that it could have ended on season six. Yes, the stories were formulaic and maybe a but predictable, but the sixth season felt like a great place for the series to end in my opinion.

Looping back around to Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega, the former has a bigger, and still ongoing run as of this post. Alpha and Omega has six books, a prequel novella, and a handful of vignettes. It’s not a long series, and outside of maybe the prequel novella, Alphas and Omega, readers can stick to the main story. Mercy Thompson, on the other hand, twelve books, five vignettes, and a thirteenth book expected to be released in August of this year.

And while there are books in the Mercy Thompson series that I enjoy, I do feel like it has kind of dragged on. After a while, for me once the series got to book ten, it didn’t feel as engaging as it used to. It started to feel repetitive, running in a cycle of, Mercy getting into trouble, Mercy feeling like she has to take on whatever it is her own way, feeling distant from Adam and noting her relationship with Bran’s pack, everything coming out fine. Rinse and repeat. Could Alpha and Omega have a similar issue? Maybe, but it isn’t one I’ve noticed as glaringly so as I have with the Mercy Thompson. Of course, I’ll still read the thirteenth book when it comes out since I’ve been keeping up, but I feel like I would be lying if I said I was wholeheartedly excited.

With Alpha and Omega being the shorter series with books being released every one to three years, it at least feels like it isn’t cycling through similar stories. The creatures and people may feel the same, but not the atmosphere.

The Characters

Both series have enjoyable characters, be it the main and/or secondary characters. Mercy Thompson had some neat side characters and for a time I enjoyed Mercy. However, I like the overall cast in the Alpha and Omega series more.

I feel more drawn to Anna and Charles than I do with Mercy and Adam. In my opinion, Charles and Anna feel like they have a more natural. I don’t know if I would say they feel more developed since technically Mercy and Adam had more time to develop, but there does feel like there is some form of development there that Mercy and Adam may be lacking for me. There’s also the fact that there isn’t any conflict with a third party like there is with Adam and Mercy. While the ex-wife plotline can be enjoyable when done right, I wasn’t sold on it in the Mercy Thompson series. I didn’t particularly care for Christy, Adam’s ex-wife, and she ended up being at the center of one of the book’s main conflict. Overall, Charles and Anna’s relationship feels a bit more natural, simpler maybe, and it’s the one that feels more likeable.

Looking at the leading ladies, both Mercy and Anna have some similarities like having their own trauma and being with their packs’ alpha, but their personalities. Mercy has a more independent and headstrong personality while Anna is more calm and introverted. And while I wouldn’t say the “strong, independent woman” angle is bad, something about Mercy specifically doesn’t feel well done in some instances. Maybe it’s the fact that the Mercy Thompson series has been going on for as long as it has, but Mercy whole demeanor feels stale after a while. Some of her inner monologues feel very repetitive too. First person is a perspective that can be enjoyed, but I think after a while, Mercy stating how she always finds herself in trouble, her relationships with Bran and Samuel, and how she feels different because she is a coyote skin walker feels repetitive after a while. I won’t say that Anna is without flaws, as her submissive demeanor and maybe letting others doing more of the fighting (which partially has to do with how omegas are more so support/comfort than fighters), but it doesn’t feel as blatantly repetitive as it does with Mercy. Which may fall on perspective as much as portrayal.

When it comes to Charles and Adam, both are enjoyable. Adam is a good father and husband as well as a solid pack leader. Readers can tell that he cares about family and is reliable. And he knows when to let Mercy do what he needs to. Charles is also very supportive and caring of Anna. While Anna might not be a brawler, Charles understands why Anna needs to be involved with situations. They have good communication and with how the series treats Charles and his werewolf side (it’s set up as his human side and wolf side share a body but have their own thoughts) connects with Anna well. He also understands the abuse that Anna went through in her previous pack, and doesn’t go overboard with protecting her and knows what she’s been through. Of course, Charles does feel a need to keep her safe, but it’s not an overly possessive kind of desire. Between the two, however, I like Charles more. This could be a constraint of first person, but Charles feels a bit more developed. Adam does have development, but since the Mercy Thompson series is told from Mercy’s perspective, it’s a little harder to see from a perception perspective. With third person, like in Alpha and Omega’s case, it’s able to build both Charles and Anna up in a way that feels easier to pick up on. It also gives readers the chance to understand Charles’ history and character from a way that doesn’t feel one-sided.

As for background and secondary characters, both series have enjoyable characters. Stefan, Mercy’s vampire ally, Zee, a fae and Mercy’s former boss, and Warren, a werewolf and close friend to Mercy, are interesting characters. Jesse, Adam and Christy’s daughter is also a neat character, who works well with Mercy. There’s also Samuel and Bran, who appear in both series, who bring their own stories with them, with the former at one point having romantic feelings towards Mercy. As for the Alpha and Omega series, it has its fair share of enjoyable side characters too. Asil, who’s deceased wife was an omega, has knowledge about omegas and has given Charles advice. He is also shown going through grief of losing his wife, feeling a similar presence in Anna in the first book. Leah Cornick, Bran’s current wife, though usually cold, goes through some development and learns to warm up to Anna. There are plenty of side characters in both that readers might connect with.


Even if the Alpha and Omega series isn’t a masterpiece, there is a lot that I enjoy about it. When I started it and the length helped as well as an enjoyable story and characters. It may have its flaws, like scenes that feel odd, clichés, and/or some repetitive things, it has qualities that I found likeable. It’s a guilty pleasure series of mine and it is a fun read more than anything.