Tag Archives: LGBTQ+

September in Review: What I Read

The month of September has been a slower month for me. Having lowered my reading goal from one hundred and fifty-six to one hundred and fifty, it gave me time to breathe and not feel like I was falling far behind. That said, I am making progress and am on track.

For the month of September, I have read four books, four comics, and one manga. Totaling out to nine books this month. These are those books and my general thoughts on them.

Epic Tales: Celtic Myths and Tales/Celtic Myths and Tales: Epic Tales by Various

This collection of Celtic tales has been sitting in my Currently Reading shelf since March. It was originally going to be the “bigger/more in depth book” that I would read in March as well as fitting into the Ireland theme I had planned for the month (Note: I will sometimes dedicate a month for a specific topic, theme, or what have you for a particular month. For instance June, I read mostly LGBTQ+ centered books in honor of Pride Month. It’s a way for me to expand my reading and maybe find a book I like that I might not have thought of previously). The only reason it took me this long was because of other books I had to read, the fact I wanted to take my time with this book, and my motivation to read it being hit or miss.

So for the month of September, I decided to sit my butt down and finish it. Overall, I would say that I enjoyed it. All of the tales were really neat and were divided into sections. It’s also a really nice collection of tales, and a number of which, if any, might not appear in the Irish Fairy and Folk Tales leather bound book I own. This book is also apart of a series of “epic tales” which include other tales from other mythologies, Mary Shelley, Black Sci-Fi stories, and more. A number of these are included on my to read list, including the Black Sci-Fi stories, Epic Tales: Norse Myths and tales, Epic Tales: Persian Myths and Tales, African Myths and Tales, and Epic Tales: Japanese Myths and Tales.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Essential X-Men Volume 11 by Chris CLaremont

I’ve been making my way through the Classic X-Men comics via the Epic Collection and their respected Omnibuses. This is the last of the Essential X-Men Collection that I needed to read before hopping into the run starting in the 90’s (Either through regular paper backs or their respected Epic Collection). I’ve been enjoying this run of the X-Men, some issues and volumes a little more, but this has been a fun run. This one was one that I enjoyed, but maybe not as much as others. However, I do think it was still worth a read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Death: At Death’s Door by Jill Thompson

The Sandman has been on my to read list since at least the beginning of 2022. I managed to get through the first two volumes before the release of the Netflix adaptation and read the Deluxe Edition of Death last month. I also ended up reading the two Little Endless Storybooks (The Little Endless Storybook and Delirium’s Party). I checked this out on a whim as well as for a quick read since I was a little behind on my reading total.

I’m kind of mixed on the story as a whole, however, it was a fun read. The art and the story did remind me of some early 2000’s manga tie ins like Kingdom Hearts 1, 2, and Chain of Memories, which were all fun and whimsical reads. If you are looking for a fun and slightly different story within the Sandman universe, I would give it a shot.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity by Devon Price, PhD

One topic I have an on and off interest with are nonfiction books on Autism. As someone who has been diagnosed with Autism (Asperger’s when it was used a little more frequently), I’ve had an interest in reading upon it over the last few years. Mostly because, like a number of people who fall on the spectrum, I had a hard time coming to terms with it due to some perceptions out there and feeling disheartened by it. These days, I am more comfortable with it, but I want to better understand Autism where I previously didn’t.

Reading Unmasking Autism has helped me. In fact, it is set up in a way that I connect with. A lot of what this book covers touches on things that I had felt when I was younger, the conflicting emotions and having to mask that side of myself in order to appear normal. This is probably the first book on Autism that resonated with me on a personal level. And for that, I appreciate it and am glad that I bought it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Ziggy, Stardust, and Me by James Brandon

This one I picked up on a whim on one of my Barnes and Noble trips. It was one I was considering, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to get the hardcover or wait until the paperback was released the following Tuesday (Sundays are my Barnes and Noble days since it’s a day I don’t work on and is the one day out of the weekend that right for me). Towards the end of this trip, I was looking at the LGBTQ+ section in the YA area, looking for Loveless by Alice Oseman, when I spotted it. And as luck would have it, there was one copy of the paperback copy available before it was even supposed to hit shelves (Goodreads said the paperback was set to release that Tuesday, September 13th). Which coincidentally, was the second time that has happened to me, with the first being the Essential Legends Collection release of Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, which I got my hands on the Sunday before it’s release date that Tuesday (August 2nd). And had this been on my radar in June, I might have read it along with the other LGBTQ+ books I read that month (I do wish I read one or two more fiction books that month honestly, but I digress).

Taking place in the 1970’s and right around the time the events at Waterloo broke, it focuses on a young man trying to find his place in the world, when he meets Web, a Lakota teen, who in some ways is his total opposite. This is a coming of age story that deals with how people perceived the LGBTQ+ at the time and two young men whose lives are changed forever. Note: This book does cover some sensitive topics like racism towards Native Americans and how being gay was seen as a mental disorder.

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 Stars

Wolverine Vol 2 (1980’s) Issues 45-47 by Larry Hama

These are here since I needed to read them before hoping into Essential Wolverine Vol 3. On Goodreads, I counted these issues towards the Essential Wolverine Vol 2 since, due to me not being able to get my hands on volume 2 through my library. Plus, I would rather have these issues act as one entry, so lumping it in with Essential Wolverine volume 2, I felt made sense since technically, I already read most of it with the second and third Epic Collection volumes. Which I noted when I finished.

Overall, I though these were solid enough issues. Not sure if I would go back to them, but it was neat to see Logan and Jubilee teaming up.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

X-Men Red (2018) Vol. 1 by Tom Taylor

I wanted to read this series before I inevitably get into the 2022 X-Men run. From my understanding this, X-Men Gold, and X-Men Blue, were a sort of trio run with each one focusing on the Scott/Jean/Logan trinity. Scott is Blue, Jean is Red, and Logan is Gold. I read Gold, which had Nightcrawler as a mainstay and was a reason why I picked it up. And I enjoyed it. I don’t know if I will jump on Blue, at least at this time, but I may eventually.

As for the first volume of 2019’s X-Men Red, it was alright. The story itself made sense with the direction they wanted with Jean (focusing on her being a sort of spokesperson for the X-Men, the brief discussion on the Phoenix Force, and Jean seeking out alliances with Namor and T’Challa). I just wasn’t as invested/interested in this one compared to X-Men Gold. I’ll still read the second volume though. It was just kind of average for me personally.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Almost There by Farrah Rochon

Disney’s Twisted Tales are some really neat books. Acting as what if for the movies there based on, they generally have one question in mind. What if a different choice or event happened in the story? For instance, in Go the Distance, it asks, “What if Meg Had to Become a God?”

This one focuses on Tiana and Princess and the Frog. And personally, this is one of my favorites. Reflection is my favorite thus far, but Almost There is right up there with it. It was a good spin on the Princess and the Frog and it was interesting to see what direction it took. my only critiques, which I go over in my review, were one or two little things, but other than that, I thought this was a good read.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Trial of Magneto by Leah Williams

I finished off September with Trials of Magneto. I was looking for a quick read and I kind of wanted to check this one out. Mostly because of the mixed reception and it no longer being a comic on my to buy list. So I checked it out through my library and gave it a read.

Now, I don’t now if it’s because I am slowly inching my way into the Krakoa Age, or if this is something others believe too, but this story kind of felt all over the place. One minute it’s about Magneto going on trial for possible killing Wanda, the next she’s not dead and interacting with her past, present, and future selves. And there is some kind of resolution at the end.

That said, I wouldn’t say it’s terrible enough for one star. And if I can give it anything positive, it would be that the art was nice and that there was potential for a good/interesting story. Other than that though, I just didn’t enjoy it.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

Conclusion

Nine books for the month of September. Some good. Some bad. Some average. What were some books you read in September? Thoughts?

Pearl Sister: A Review

Book four of the Seven Sisters series, Pearl Sister, is the next book for me to review. Similar to the third book, Shadow Sister, this is the second of two books that I feel neutral about. However, I think I enjoyed this one a smidge more.

This is also the first book that explores a main character who falls into the LGBTQ+ community. In this book, it starts off as CeCe questioning her sexuality and is later confirmed that she and a secondary character are romantically involved.

Disclaimer

As per usual, I enter this disclaimer in the event you may not have read my previous reviews for the series.

While this series does involve each character finding their birth family, I do not believe that it was the author’s intent to diminish adopted families. Having read the series, I interpreted it as each daughter being given the choice to find their birth families if they so choose. With each daughter choosing to investigate their history

Update from Original Review and Secondary Disclaimer

When I posted my original review for this book, I did not realize that a term to describe the native groups in Australia was considered a bit problematic. I will apologize for not knowing at the time and have fixed the mistake here. This is the same review as it was written, but with proper changes when referring to Australia’s native individuals.

I apologize for the error I made and will be more mindful in the future.

Synopsis

Pearl Sister focuses on the fourth daughter of the D’Aplièse family, Celaeno, or CeCe as she goes by in the book. Starting off during Shadow Sisters to explain why she left Star in England, CeCe decides to look into her family. While she has felt like she doesn’t quite fit in in the family, with Star being the sister she was closest to, readers get to see her come out of her shell. As she travels to Sydney, Australia to follow the clues Pa Salt left her, she finds herself in Thailand where see meets some backpackers, including a young man named Ace, and with some help from him and others along the way, she is able to find out more about her family and herself.

A hundred years earlier, we get to see the story of Kitty McBride, the woman that CeCe is given the task of looking into. Kitty is the daughter of a clergyman, who finds her fate intertwined with the twin sons of a wealthy family that works with pearls. While there, she also finds herself intertwined with some of the Australian native individuals.

As CeCe discovers more about her family history, she rediscovers her creative passions and begins to discover more about herself and who she loves.

Positives

What I really enjoyed about this book was the setting and CeCe’s journey. Because I didn’t particularly like where her story ended in Shadow Sister, it was nice to see some of what was going on with CeCe during that time at the beginning of this story. And seeing her come into her own person, it was nice to see how that unfolded.

It was also nice to see how this book broke the formula a little bit. Star did a little bit too with how it approached Mouse and Orlando and who Star ended up getting with, but I liked what they did with CeCe’s a bit more. Since CeCe’s story is one of self-discovery, seeing her questioning her sexuality and her feelings for Chrissie come to light. The two get along really well, both as friends and as partners, and it was nice how Chrissie to help explain the native culture and history to CeCe.

I also enjoyed the parts in Australia alongside some of it’s history. Elements of Kitty’s story was interesting too. How her story intertwines with CeCe is different, but in a good way.

CeCe is also one of two or three sisters I kind of relate to. Tiggy being another, which I’ll get into in my review for Moon Sister, and Star possibly being the third (the only reason I’m hesitant to say I relate to Star is because I more so enjoyed the book/writing aesthetic of Shadow Sister’s setting and side characters as someone who is an avid book lover and writer). I relate to CeCe’s desire for self-discovery and creativity as a writer and occasional artist myself.

Critiques

I suppose my biggest critique with Pearl Sister is Kitty’s story. While the formula for the historical parts isn’t bad, I just didn’t find Kitty’s part as interesting. While I did enjoy aspects of it, like the mother that Kitty ends up helping and the approach to conflicts at the time, the romance subplot in it, wasn’t that compelling. I do think the use of the twins was a neat touch, I just didn’t like the execution.

The part in Thailand, though having a point, wasn’t all that memorable after reading. While certain details there were necessary, some readers do feel like it stayed around a bit too long. I can kind of agree, as I would have liked to get to Australia. However, I can see what areas of it were necessary. Mainly some character developing and investigating for CeCe’s journey.

I will also include the term used to describe Australia’s native individuals. I cannot confirm or deny any malice on Lucinda Riley’s part (much like with terms used in the next book), so I will not pass judgement until I know for sure. I won’t condone it either. I merely cannot speak for Lucinda Riley with her passing last year and the fact I found out out how problematic it was until recently.

Conclusion

I enjoyed how this story broke the mold in some areas and enjoyed CeCe’s growth. However, some duller elements and terminology did effect my enjoyment of the book. I would give this book a six and a half out of ten depending on the day since despite my neutral feelings towards it, I do enjoy it more than Shadow Sister.