Mini Book Reviews: June-July 2021

Hello book nerds! I feel like it’s been a while. June and July have been hectic and I haven’t posted as much as I wanted to. But I’m here now, I’m back, and I bring with me mini book reviews!

I’m featuring books I’ve read last June and July! Since I haven’t posted full reviews here, I figured it would be good to share my mini reviews here instead. Most of these are from my Queer TBR for Pride Month and some are e-arcs from NetGalley and gifted copies. Be warned: there are several… But one thing is for sure though: I had fun reading these and I definitely have new favorites! Here they are:

Trouble Girls

Cover of Trouble Girls by Julia Lynn Rubin

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My thoughts:

It’s my first read for Pride Month and I’m so glad to say I enjoyed it! Trouble Girls was a great read! It was dark, poetic, gritty, and poignant.

The overall story is a very real and heartbreaking example of what women go through because of terrible men. The characters were also compelling, and I was particularly moved by the MC’s perspective. Also, it’s very hard to explain it, but this book just makes you feel things. It takes you on such an emotional and haunting journey on finding freedom and love, and running from your fears. Overall, I enjoyed this one.

CW: sexual abuse/sexual harassment, rape, attempted rape, blood, gore (mild), domestic abuse, toxic relationships

Thank you so much to Wednesday Books for sending over an ARC! (This, of course, did not affect my overall opinion of the book.)

Pumpkin

Cover of Pumpkin by Julie Murphy

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My thoughts:

I lost a few hours of sleep because of this book, but I swear it was all worth it. Pumpkin is the cutest and most precious! Nothing but wholesomeness and learning to be your true self and confronting your doubts (and of course, a dash of angst, romance, and teen drama, but I love it!)

I love the character development, seeing Waylon be his true self and try to give their small town a chance was so good. I love the vulnerability in this book and I appreciate that so much. There was one quote from Waylon’s mom when she said, “Not everything has to be sarcastic or edgy. It’s okay to be vulnerable and sincere.” and that absolutely stuck with me.

I also love that it speaks to a lot of fat, queer teens, as well as those who just want to fit in. I know younger me would have loved this book. 😭

CW: fatphobia, bodyshaming, bullying, homophobia

Thank you so much Epic Reads for sending me a copy of this book! (This, of course, did not affect my overall opinion of the book.)

Jay’s Gay Agenda

Cover of Jay's Gay Agenda by Jason June

My rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

My thoughts:

Okay, this was so chaotic and full of teenage drama. 70% of the time, I was just annoyed at the MC’s life choices. Despite that, this book was also funny and heartfelt. I’m also reminded that characters can be flawed and imperfect, and that the beauty lies in their journey to admitting their mistakes and correcting it. Jay’s character arc is an example of that, and I loved it.

This book also talked about stereotypes, the good and the bad. How it’s okay to fall into a stereotype, but it also doesn’t mean that that particular stereotype is true for everybody. I liked their conversation about that.

And perhaps my favorite thing about this book is how it highlighted how amazing it is to find the people that you click with, people you can connect with, your community. Finding your community can change your life for the better and change the way you carry and express yourself. Really love that.

CW: sexual content, racism/racial prejudice, homophobia/gay stereotypes, cheating

Thank you so much to Epic Reads for sending a finished copy of this book! (This, of course, did not affect my overall opinion of the book.)

Fat and Queer

Cover of Fat and Queer

My rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

My thoughts:

This book, y’all. This book.

At first, I thought this was going to be a quick, easy read, instead I got an incredible, moving anthology. There are personal essays and anecdotes, poems, and pieces that just really dive into fatness and gender and how these two impact each other. As another queer, fat person, this was both amazing and overwhelming—taking all these personal experiences and opinions and stories that I never thought I’d connect with but turns out they’re exactly what I needed.

I love how diverse the contributors and the pieces are. I love how every part criticizes and challenges the fatphobic society and perspective most people have. I love how every piece also talked about gender and sexuality and their fluidity.

I don’t have any more words (I don’t even think I can explain it properly cries), but this was truly impactful. I hope many more fat and queer people find this book.

CW: fatphobia, body shaming, bullying, racism, rape/sexual assault, anxiety/panic attacks, sexual content, suicide/suicidal thoughts

Here The Whole Time

Cover of Here The Whole Time by Vitor Martins

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My thoughts:

Okay, this might be my favorite read this Pride Month.

It’s simple, yet so poignant. Like there’s no angst, no high stakes plot obviously, no drama or chaos, but it’s just so so beautiful.

I love how mental health and therapy are a normal topic in Felipe and his mom’s household. I love how this book teaches us to be brave in our own ways. I love how it encourages us to make connections with other people, because as an introvert, I definitely relate to that. I love how it also talked about fatness. And I love how precious and sweet Felipe and Caio are. I love how this book features love that’s not explosive and intense, but rather, love that is quiet and yet heartwarming just the same.

Overall, this is such an amazing read. Would love to read it again for sure.

CW: fatphobia, homophobia, bullying, mental health problems

Future Feeling

Cover of Future Feeling by Joss Lake

My rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

My thoughts:

Okay, this book is probably one of the weirdest books I’ve read? And yet, I think it’s also one of the most honest and raw.

Let me start by saying the main character is not exactly likeable. He was full of resentment, of insecurities, a lot of hate. But we see him face his problems (that he brought upon himself), accept the challenge, and grow into a more mature, healthy adult. This journey, of course, is not an easy one. He fucks up a few (okay maybe many) times, and there are elements in his life he refuses to confront, but he improves.

This book also focuses on the journey of transitioning and the nuances of trans lives. It shows trans people going through the emotional, physical, and social changes when they transition. There are also lots of discussions about trans and queer lives (the good and the bad), different experiences, and more.

The writing style is very frank, straightforward, maybe even with a cynical tone (especially in the first few parts when the MC hasn’t achieved character development yet). As a result, there are times when it feels like it’s a drag. It also blends science fiction/fantasy in the contemporary world, which can get confusing, but as you read, you learn to go with it.

I want to say though, there are a few offhand comments that didn’t sit right with me as I read the book.

Overall, I like how Future Feeling is ultimately about a journey of self-discovery and self-reflection, to self-improvement. I think this is a memorable one.

CW: graphic sex scenes/sexual content, mental illness, drug use

Thank you so much to Soft Skull Press for sending over a copy! (This, of course, did not affect my overall opinion of the book.)

Swallow

Cover of Swallow by Sam Schill

My rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

My thoughts:

I have two words to describe this book: weird and dark.

I guess I don’t know how to properly rate this? Because I guess I liked it? But somehow it still lacks for me? (And this is just me of course).

I liked the grittiness of the writing. I liked that it showed how messy high school is and how it can drive people to do things they wouldn’t normally do if it doesn’t change. I liked the supernatural element, but I feel like it fell flat. Like I wanted more of that supernatural element and I wanted to see how it can further plot, but I didn’t get that by the end of the book.

Also, the fatphobia in this book is a lot. I think it might have even made me more uncomfortable than the gore-y scenes in the book. I know it will be triggering for some, so be very careful!

Overall, this was an okay read. If you like horror, and weird and dark books, you’ll probably enjoy this book!

CW: fatphobia, bullying, murder/death, gore, violence, cannibalism, sexual assault (minor)

Thank you to Wattpad Books for sending over a copy! This, of course, did not affect my overall opinion of the book.

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe

Cover of How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My thoughts:

I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. I guess I have another new favorite??

This was just beautiful! It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, it’s poignant, it’s moving, it’s simple.

What I thought was simply going to be a fun, enemies-to-lovers romance, turned out to be this beautiful, hilarious, profound, sex-positive, body-positive book about seeing yourself and loving yourself, dealing with the good and ugly sides of family, and falling in love. It challenged fatphobia and misogyny; it talked about mental illness, domestic violence, prejudice against sexually-active women, how religion can sometimes trigger worst in people; it also had a bit of disability rep and queer/sapphic rep.

Also, Moon Fuentez as a main character is already a compliment itself. I loved her! I loved her character, her personality, her character arc, everything. She made this book so lively and definitely relatable.

This book has it all. It’s an instant favorite for me. 😭

CW: fatphobia, bigotry mostly influenced by religious views, misogyny, domestic violence/child abuse, unstable mental health, parental death, implied suicide, slut shaming, sexual harassment (minor/mild), sexual content (mild to graphic), racism

Please look forward to my tour stop on August 14th with TBR and Beyond Tours!

XOXO

Cover of XOXO by Axie Oh

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My thoughts:

Okay, this was the cutest!

XOXO is one of the my most anticipated this year and it did not let me down. This was light, funny, but also emotional and inspiring in its own way!

Love the writing style—humorous, but also full of anticipation. As for the characters, it was easy to get a grasp of the main character and root for her. Reading the story through her perspective was enjoyable. Also, Jenny learning about idol groups and the basics of K-pop industry reminded me of myself when I started getting into TWICE and BTS last year! lol

Jaewoo is adorable (obviously). I also loved the other minor characters, especially those who became Jenny’s best friends. (I think I just became a Sori supremacist)

I adored the romance and the overall plot! Some parts can come off as cliché, but it’s the stuff you’d expect at romantic K-dramas and I am here for it. I do wish there was more to Jenny’s relationship with her mom, and her mom’s relationship with Jenny’s grandma. I guess wanted more closure/resolution, still it was good. Career is also an important aspect in the story (both in Jaewoo’s side and Jenny’s side) and I appreciated that there were a few discussions on how Korean and the Western perspective differs when it comes to having a dream and having a responsibility to your family.

I also loved XOXO, of course! They reminded me a bit of BTS, in terms of the group dynamics and the talent they have. Still, they’re so different from each other and I know XOXO has taken a life of its own, especially in this story. I also loved how it was emphasized here that K-pop is just music, and definitely not something to be embarrassed about. That it can be amazing if you just give it a chance.

Overall, this was such a fun read. I enjoyed it a lot! Looking forward to reading the author’s future works for sure!

A big, big thank you to Epic Reads for sending over a copy! (This, of course, did not affect my overall opinion of the book.)

There you go! That’s a total of 9 reviews. I hope you don’t mind my rambling. 😅 If you made it here, thank you and I appreciate you! And now let’s talk! Have you read some of these books as well? What did you think? Or do you have some on your TBR? Go ahead and comment below!

5 thoughts on “Mini Book Reviews: June-July 2021

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s