‘Summer Isle’ isn’t too hot.

Lesbian Book Review of ‘Summer Isle’ by Morgan Routh.

This is a new adult novella, the first in the’Love by the shore’ series by this author set in an undetermined tropical holiday island. This book features Melody and Jill, two girls just out of high school, who discover feelings for each other. But Melody is all set to go to an Ivy League university and Jill is staying on the island. Will they have their happily ever after?

‘Summer Isle’ is a coming of age lesbian romance with a side plot of nautical sports. Even though the story is sweet and cute, the attraction could have been developed better and I found their chemistry a bit lacking. There is very little angst or conflict considering that the plot is dealing with first love and a big life change in front of them. I found that the conflict resolution was a bit rushed at the end with no opportunity to see what are the consequences of both characters decisions. Hopefully, the next book in the series will bring more light to both characters’ lives after high school.Read More »

A series with plenty of potential

Lesbian Book Review of ‘Daughter of no one’ by Sam Ledel.

3.50 Stars. I thought this was a pretty good fantasy book. This is the second book I have read by Ledel and I thought it was quite a bit better than her first. It is YA or maybe New Adult since both characters are in their early 20’s. This is the first book in ‘The Odium Trilogy’ series, and while the main storyline is still open, the book ended in a good spot. It doesn’t leave you with a horrible cliffhanger feeling, you just know that more adventure is to come.

This story follows the lives of two young women. Jastyn, who is an outcast due to being born out of wedlock and Princess Aurelia. When the princess’ life is in danger, Jastyn’s extensive knowledge of the woods surrounding the Kingdom might just make her the perfect person to find the Princess. After being shunned by the Royals her whole life, can Jastyn put her feeling aside to bring the Princess home?
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‘In the silences’ by Rachel Gold gets your mind working…

This was a really good YA book. As I’ve mentioned multiple times I can be up and down when it comes to YA books but Gold writes really well. This is the third book I have read by her and all of them have been quality reads. Gold writes about topics that other authors tend to shy away from. In this book Gold takes on race, gender, and sexuality. Each time I read one of her books I walk away feeling like I learned something new which I always appreciate.

This book covers about three years in two teenager’s lives. Kaz is struggling with their gender while Aisha has to deal with systematic racism after moving to a town this is mostly white. These two teenagers click and become best friends instantly. Kaz knows they are falling for Aisha hard, but can Aisha accept how Kaz sees their own gender? And with racism affecting Aisha’s schooling, will she be around long enough for Kaz to find out?

This is one of those books that definitely messed with my emotions. I went from crying one minute, to being so mad I was steaming the next. And while some of this book was hard to read because you know it’s a fiction book based on facts, there were still plenty of uplifting moments. This is one of those YA books that should really be in school libraries but is also a book adults should read. Even with me talking many sociology classes including gender studies when I was in college, terms and how we understand gender has really changed in the past few years. I feel like I’m coming away with a better understanding of how some genderqueer people feel about themselves. And while I know there is plenty of racism still alive in 2019, you just have to turn on the TV to know it, this book made me think about things I just never would have considered as a white person.

While there are some tough parts to read in this book, there is a sweet G-rated YA romance. I thought Kaz and Aisha were just perfectly adorable together. I loved how much they uplifted and fought for each other. Kaz was a little warrior and I just loved that about them. And while not everything was wrapped up in a neat little bow, I enjoyed how the ending of the book made me feel.

This is one of those books that I just think people should read. Like I mentioned before I think Gold writes books that are important. She knows how to leave an impact on you while getting your mind working. That is the sign of a good book and a good author in my opinion.

An ARC was given to me for an honest review.

Review of ‘The Soulstealers’ by Jacqueline Rohrbach.

3.75 Stars. ‘The Soulstealers’ was a well written, YA fantasy book. I do have to admit that I didn’t love the story as much as I wanted to. However, I’m still rating this on the higher side because it’s a well done, quality, YA book.

In this world, magic comes at a steep price. When Druids come of age they steal and trap the soul of a person to leach magic off of. Arnaka is turning 16 and it is now time for her to get a soul familiar. The problem is the girl that must die to have her soul trapped by Arnaka is her best friend. Arnaka promises her friend that she will do everything in her power to stop any more people having to die for magic. Can Arnaka fight all that stands against her to keep her promise?

While this is a YA book, it is on the darker side. If librarians are considering this I would suggest it for older teens. One of my issues with the storyline is that I felt it was pretty depressing. There is friendship, hope, and even a teeny tiny baby f/f romance, so it’s not all doom and gloom, I just wish there were a bigger amount of lighter moments. I felt like this book weighed on me a bit.

The imagination of this book is very well done. While a floating city and palace above a ravaged land is not a new concept, the rest of the book felt pretty fresh. I have read a lot of mainstream and LGBTQ fantasy books so it’s always a pleasant surprise for a book to have really new ideas.

The characters are all pretty well done even the more secondary ones. It was a good cast of heroes and villains. As I mentioned before, there is a baby romance but nothing more than a couple of kisses. I wish there was time to develop the relationship between the characters more but with so much going on in the book, there just wasn’t.

This sort of leads me to one of my issues which is time. I wish there was more time for expanding on things in the book. I didn’t feel enough time was spent between Arnaka and her best friend to really cement their strong friendship connection. I wanted more time for the romance even if it was kept G-rated and I wanted more time at the end of the book, the ending was a tiny bit of a letdown.

This book has some great adventures, some good magic battles, and well thought out characters. The story itself felt refreshingly new. It did make me feel a little melancholy because it is on the sadder side. Overall I would still recommend this to YA fantasy fans.

NineStar Press really has some of the best covers. They impress me more and more every time I see a new book out.

An ARC was given to me for an honest review.

Review of ‘Speak its name’ by Kathleen Jowitt.

‘Speak its name’ follow a couple of years in the campus life of Lydia, an English undergraduate student at the fictional University of Stancester in England. Lydia is as an Evangelical Christian struggling with her own sexuality. As a practising Christian, can she still feel welcome in her church if she comes out as a lesbian?

This novel present two main themes. One is the relationship – often more political than religious – between different Christian churches in university life. The other is the personal struggle of Lydia who wants to be accepted as both a Christian and a lesbian by her church and her family and friends. The story gives an interesting insight into the core of beliefs of the different Christian churches such as Roman Catholic, Anglican, Evangelical, among others. It shows what they have in common and mostly what they disagree with and how their own religions’ teaching of loving each other usually develops into bigotry and intolerance. This is not an easy read, sometimes the book takes the shape of a non-fictional essay about church politics in the context of a university campus. At moments for me it felt longer than necessary. However, it’s well written and informative for an outsider. Regarding the main character’s story, Lydia is a believable and lovable young woman struggling with accepting her sexuality first, and then fighting for acceptance in her religious group and family. Any queer reader, religious or not, can relate to her identity struggle. Far from being a romance, her relationship with her girlfriend Colette is one of support and redemption, a companion in the hardships of life. ‘Speak its name’ is a book about love in all its forms and shapes and a call for more tolerance and acceptance of minorities specially in a religious context.

Overall, a well written book recommended if you are interested in religion and sexual identity. 4 stars.

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Still in your care’ by Josslyn Scott.

‘Still in your care’ is the part one of ‘A lesbian love story’ by Josslyn Scott. This is the story of Cloe, a business college student in her early twenties, and Maddie, a businesswoman ten years her senior who used to be Cloe’s babysitter. Years later, they meet by chance and Cloe feels that her old crush with Maddie is alive again. The problem is that Maddie is married and very straight. Or is she?

This novella is written in third person from the point of view of both main characters in alternating chapters. Both main characters are well developed and their chemistry works fine. There are a few subplots slightly presented in the book which hopefully will be developed in a later instalment so you need to commit to read at least one more book. However, while a bit rushed, the romance plot is developed fully here.

Overall, a sweet romance. Recommended if you don’t mind waiting for the next book or plots with infidelity. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars.

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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