Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

Nearly a year has passed since Amani and the rebels won their epic battle at Fahali. Amani has come into both her powers and her reputation as the Blue-Eyed Bandit, and the Rebel Prince's message has spread across the desert - and some might say out of control. But when a surprise encounter turns into a brutal kidnapping, Amani finds herself betrayed in the cruelest manner possible.

Stripped of her powers and her identity, and torn from the man she loves, Amani must return to her desert-girl's instinct for survival. For the Sultan's palace is a dangerous one, and the harem is a viper's nest of suspicion, fear and intrigue. Just the right place for a spy to thrive... But spying is a dangerous game, and when ghosts from Amani's past emerge to haunt her, she begins to wonder if she can trust her own treacherous heart.


Thank you to NetGalley for sending me an eArc of this book.

This is a spoiler-free review of Traitor to the Throne, however, it does include spoilers for Rebel of the Sands! 


Traitor to the Throne is the highly anticipated sequel to Rebel of the Sands. Having loved the first book in this series when I first read it, I was quite excited for the release of the second book in this trilogy. However, I have to admit that I feel slightly let down by Traitor. 

I feel as though, in my opinion, the biggest let down in this book (compared to Rebel) was Amani's drastic character change. I'm all for character growth and development, but that wasn't what this was. After discovering her Demdji heritage in Rebel, Amani seems to now be completely reliant on her magic and brings it into absolutely everything in this book. I much preferred the gunslinging sharpshooter version of Amani from the first book. Traitor also seemed to bring a few plot holes to light - for example, at one point, Amani comments that she is unable to make a sarcastic comment (as, being a Demdji, she physically can't lie) and "her tongue can't tell the difference between sarcasm and lying". However, Amani's entire personality in Rebel was based around her sassiness and sarcasm? I don't want to sound too picky so I won't go into detail, but I noticed a few little things like this that just didn't quite make sense to me when you take the first book into consideration. 

Now, I'll stop slating Amani and move onto a big issue I had with the plot. Skip this section if you want to avoid very mild spoilers!
So basically, Amani spends the majority of this book inside the Sultan's harem after being kidnapped and sold to him, as he is looking for a Demdji. She slowly manages to gain more of his trust, and there is a point where she starts to have clear doubts about Ahmed's ability to rule and about the rebellion in general. However, these doubts are voiced by her and then just never dealt with again? Fair enough if it was just a moment of doubt and she didn't take it too seriously, but I would have liked to have read how she worked through that. Plus, anyone who knows me knows that I am in no way going to support a tyrannical character, but apart from a few things, the Sultan didn't seem too awful. Like, I've seen fictional dictators who are far more evil. Ahmed is barely in this book, but he's pretty insufferable in the scenes he is in, and to be honest, he just isn't that good a good leader. Why is Shazad not leading this rebellion? Yes, she's not royalty, but surely rebellion is just slightly about overthrowing imperialism. Shazad would be a far better ruler than any of the men in this book. I'm rooting for #ShazadforSultan2018. Anyway.

I feel as though I've complained way too much in this review (I'm sorry) so here's a few things that I did like:
  • The political intrigue - of course I like action, but a bit of intrigue is never a bad thing in my opinion!
  • Some of the new/reintroduced characters - I won't say much as I don't want to spoil anything, but there's a wonderful example of a strong female character reintroduced in this book, and I would've loved for her to have been a bigger part of the plot
  • The little myths and legends inserted between chapters every now and then! Not only were they intriguing, but they were beautifully written and really helped to build the story. I think more of these in book three would go far. 
  • There's very little romance - the plot is almost entirely focused on the plot, and therefore on the rebellion and politics. Although I don't dislike Jin and Amani as a couple, and I didn't really see the point in her basically being mad at him for almost this entire book, I was glad that the romance was put to one side for a while.
  • Shazad, Rahim and Sam. Three characters I really liked in this book and really hope will be around more in book three. 
  • The Sultan. I love a good grey-area villain; this guy is clearly in the wrong in some aspects, but you can't fully disagree with his ideas, and he clearly has an interesting back story. 

Traitor to the Throne is published on the 2nd February in the UK / 7th March in the US.

love Becky @

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Dreadnought by April Daniels

Dreadnought is the first book in the Nemesis series by April Daniels. We follow the story of Danielle, a superhero who just happens to be transgender. This is a world where superheroes are a part of everyday life and when Danny is confronted by a dying Dreadnought, one of the world's best superheroes, it isn't long until her life is completely changed when with his dying breath, he gives her his powers and changes her from the boy she was born into the girl she has always been. Faced with her new appearance and blossoming superpowers, Danielle is drawn into the world of heroes and villains alongside her fellow class-member/masked vigilante, Sarah/Calamity as they work together to stop Utopia, a super-villain hell bent on controlling the world. 

Thank you to Netgalley for sending me this.
Goodreads | Book Depository

Fifteen-year-old Danny will take your heart and then proceed to jump all over it. She broke my heart, she made me smile, she made me feel strong just by how positive she could be even when so many bad things were happening. Her dad is unable to accept her transition, immediately finding ways to 'fix' her whilst shouting abuse at her and every slur under the sun so I must point out trigger warnings for transphobia. Her mum stands on the sidelines, too frightened to intervene and even fellow superhero, Graywytch constantly misgenders and dead-names her. The one thing that remains positive is Danny. She takes every situation and tries to make the most out of it, even when she wants to give up, she finds the strength to keep on going and not because she's a superhero, but because that's the type of girl she is. 
The entire cast of characters are diverse - Danny being trans and a lesbian, one character being an sentient android and Calamity being Latina. This, primarily, is the story of the strength behind women and it is their story and although there is no romance, there is a hell of a lot of female friendships. Although this is a story about superheroes, Danny is still an average teenager. She goes to school, she worries about homework and friendships, all whilst saving the world. She experiences what it is like to be a girl on more than just the inside when she experiences blatant sexism from her ex-best friend who assumed because she now 'looked' like a girl, they should probably start dating. However, Danny just spends this book shutting everyone down and I had to stop myself from cheering each time. 
If I had one problem, it was that the author tended to info-dump a lot of the 'science' parts to the point where I had no idea what was going on and found myself skipping through it, whilst still being able to follow the story. Maybe it is because I'm not the most scientific of people, but for me it just seemed like too much thrown at you all at once. The ending of the book is truly like a movie, the action was fast-paced and had me sitting on the edge of my seat.
The best thing about this book is that I wouldn't just recommend it to people who are fans of superheroes but also to people interested in the trans community or just want to read a coming-of-age story as I truly believe Danny grows so much throughout the course of this relatively short novel. She faces everything head-on and makes light of every situation with a joke - even to the point of asking for food after an epic battle which is what I would probably do. Her relationship with Calamity and Doctor Impossible was a highlight for me - they are three very difficult people but come together again and again and portraying the strength in female friendships. There are so many questions I have and backstory I'd love so I cannot wait for the next book. Read this book, guys. It is fun, important and revolutionary. 

Love, Angharad @

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Thank you to Titan Books for sending us early copies of Wintersong to review! 
In the deep woods of Bavaria, Liesl has grown up with stories of the Goblin King and his underground realm. Intertwined with her life, the stories have inspired her musical compositions and been at the head of her Grandmother's superstitions. As Liesl grows older and begins to help run her family's inn, as well as looking after her younger siblings, her dreams of music and the Goblin King begin to slip away. However, when Liesl's younger sister Kathë is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl realises that her childhood fantasies are a reality, and has to journey to the goblin's underground realm to save her sister. A story of sacrifice, family and mythology, inspired by Jim Henson's 'Labyrinth', Wintersong is a magical, dark fantasy debut from author S. Jae-Jones. 

Wintersong has been on my to-read list ever since I came across it on Goodreads - Labyrinth has always been a favourite film in our house, so when I heard that this was a more adult loose retelling of Labyrinth, I was all for it! 

Wintersong follows Liesl - the eldest of three siblings who has long given up on her dreams of writing and creating music. Cast aside as the 'ugly, talentless sister' next to her beautiful sister Kathë, and her brother Josef who has a great talent for playing the violin, Liesl has made do helping her parents run their inn and secretly writing pieces of music for Josef to perform. With a once musically talented and now alcoholic Father, and a Mother who was the beauty of Salzburg until the family had to move to the backwoods of Bavaria, Liesl has become the one to hold her family together. I found Liesl to be a really interesting character and so easy to connect to - usually with this sort of book, you'd find a character with her struggles to be quite whiney, but Liesl carries her burdens willingly and will always be ready to sacrifice herself for the sake of her family. 

“There is music in your soul. A wild and untamed sort
of music that speaks to me. It defies all the rules and laws you humans set upon it. It grows from inside you, and I have a wish to set that music free.” 

Liesl's relationship with her sister Kathë was far from perfect - Kathë was jealous of Liesl as she was the only member of the family who wasn't musically inclined, and Liesl jealous of Kathë for being more beautiful than her - but the pair's devotion to each other really made the character development in this book for me. I would have loved to have seen more of Josef, as I really loved the parts that he was in, and the way that he continually encouraged Liesl to follow her dreams even whilst she was dedicated to helping him start out his musical career in the best way possible. Family was such a key element to this story, and in my opinion this aspect of it was executed so well.

The Goblin King, I absolutely adored. S. Jae-Jones got him spot on - his voice, his internal conflicts, and can we just talk about how perfect his appearance was? I knew that, however he was described, I'd picture him as David Bowie, but he was most definitely based off Bowie's appearance in Labyrinth - the long, pale limbs, the light fluffy hair, the pointed features - and to be honest, when his 'mismatched eyes' were mentioned, I teared up just a little bit - it was such a perfect hidden tribute to Bowie. I was also so thankful that he wasn't just a typical anti-hero (although, I do love anti-heroes); he has a past and he has character development, and despite his elusiveness towards Liesl for a large part of the book, you do get to understand him more as the story progresses.

“Now the days of winter begin, and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride.”

Plot wise, Wintersong was very much split into two halves - the first, in which Liesl attempts to save her sister from the Goblin King, and the second, where Liesl is staying in the Goblin King's Underground Realm. Both halves were very different (the first was far more of a journey/adventure style story, and the second followed more of a character growth plotline) but I loved both halves (if anything I think I preferred the second half), and despite their differences, I thought that they fit together so well. Liesl's voice, attitude and entire character changes from one half to the next; to begin with, she's still very much submissive to her family's needs, but after offering to take her sister's place in the Underground, she decides that it's time to live as she wants now that she isn't responsible for her family. She grows more daring with the Goblin King and begins to compare the child she was in the world above to the brave woman that she has become. I couldn't help but compare Liesl and the Goblin King's relationship to that of Marya and Koschei in Catherynne Valente's Deathless: it was an intense romance with both parties battling for their own will before reconciling to the middle ground.

“I surveyed my kingdom. Chaos. Cruelty. Abandon. I had always been holding back. Always been restrained. I wanted to be bigger, brighter, better; I wanted to be capricious, malicious, sly. Until now, I had not known the intoxicating sweetness of attention. In the world above, it had always been Käthe or Josef who captivated people’s eyes and hearts - Käthe with her beauty, Josef with his talent. I was forgotten, overlooked, ignored - the plain, drab, practical, talentless sister. But here in the Underground, I was the sun around which their world spun, the axis around which their maelstrom twirled. Liesl the girl had been dull, drab, and obedient; Elisabeth the woman was a queen.” 

It is quite a long book - 500+ pages - but I found it to be a fairly quick read as both the writing style and the world were just so immersive. In fact, I could have happily read another hundred pages or so of the story - anything to mean that that ending wasn't so excruciatingly heartbreaking. The companion novel to Wintersong is currently due to be published next year, and even though Wintersong itself hasn't even been published yet, I already need that next novel...

Wintersong is published in the UK and US on the 7th February 2017. 
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon UK

Are you planning on reading Wintersong? What other 2017 releases are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!

Love Becky @

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Diversity Recs: Pansexual Characters in Fiction

For our next Diversity Recs post, we decided to research books which feature characters identifying as pansexual. This was quite a challenging post to put together, as it seems that books with pansexual characters are few and far between; however, we managed to find the following six books that feature one or more pansexual characters (as far as we are aware, all of these books state that a character is pansexual in the text, or the author states this outside of the book). If our information is incorrect, please do let us know, or alternatively if you know of any more books that feature pansexual characters, we'd love your recommendations!


The Shock of Survival by Nicole Field | Goodreads | {Own voices author, polyamorous relationship}

After winning the final battle against The Oppressor, Benedict, Ophelia and Dylan return to their magical community triumphantly, but soon discover that returning to their old lives after the war has been won isn't necessarily as easy as it seems. The Shock of Survival is not only one of few books that looks at the events after the war against evil rather than before and during, but also features pansexual characters and portrays polyamorous relationships respectfully.

The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis | Goodreads | {Pansexual MC with Filipino lesbian love interest}

In an attempt to turn her life back around after dropping out of university and breaking up with her girlfriend of three years, Chris (a pansexual MC), picks up a job at her local bookstore, although her hopes for feeling better aren't high. However, this all changes when Chris meets Josie through the bookstore, and the two form a fast friendship, which Chris hopes can develop into something more.

Out on Good Behaviour by Dahlia Adler | Goodreads {Pansexual MC, lesbian love interest}

Frankie knows that she can get anyone she sets her sights on - but when she starts falling for Samara Kazarian, the daughter of her town's Republican mayor, she thinks that some lines shouldn't be crossed - that is, until Frankie discovers that she's been on Samara's mind as well. However, Samara wants the real thing, not just a quick fling, and Frankie has never been one for commitment. For Sam, though, she's willing to try...
{disclaimer: we have read mixed reviews about the representation in this book - just so you are aware if you choose to read it!}

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate | Goodreads | {Pansexual MC}

Seven Ways We Lie follows the story of seven different characters who all attend the same high school (Olivia, Claire, Kat, Juniper, Matt, Lucas and Valentine), correlated with the seven deadly sins. When rumours of a student-teacher affair surface within the school, the unlikely group end up in the middle of the situation, and each of their individual stories merge together to form the full picture.

Timekeeper by Tara Sim |
Goodreads | {Pansexual character, gay relationship}

Danny Hart is a clock mechanic in an alternate Victorian England. When he is assigned to a new position and meets his new apprentice, Colton (a pansexual character), he soon realises that Colton's distance to him is due to the fact that he is the tower's clock spirit - the mythical being overseeing the time in the town Danny is placed in. Falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden and would destroy the position that Danny has worked so hard to be given, but the pair are immediately drawn to each other. 

27 Hours by Tristina Wright |
Goodreads | {Pansexual character}

27 Hours is a diverse sci-fi novel, which I'm sure we can all agree that we need more of. It is the story of a group of LGBT+ teenagers battling to save their home, the colonised moon on which they live on that was previously inhabited by Chimaera. There isn't much info out about this book yet, but we're sure that it'll be a must read when it's released this October!


Friday, 20 January 2017

Kingdom of Sleep by E.K. Johnston

I don't think I quite enjoyed this book as much as its prequel, A Thousand Nights, but it was still an intriguing, beautiful story!

Kingdom of Sleep, or Spindle, depending on where you live, follows Yashaa, Arwa, Tariq and Saoud, on a quest to return to their crumbling home of Karuf and save the Princess, Zahrah. At her fifth birthday party, she was cursed by a demon who intended to possess her once she had learned everything she needed to be a ruler, forcing her kingdom into ruin and resulting in the banning of spindles (this is where the Sleeping Beauty references come in), as the demon pronounced that once Zahrah learned to spin, she would be ready for inhabitation. Yashaa, Arwa and Tariq's families, who were spinners, were forced to leave their home at this point, but now the three of them along with Saoud are determined to break Zahrah's curse. 

A Thousand Nights was very much a slow building story, and whereas Kingdom of Sleep was also slow, there was still a lot more action in it. It was definitely more of a "journey story", focusing on the development of the characters and their relationships with each other rather than on the plot. I did struggle to get into this book at first, mostly because I wasn't expecting some of the differences between it and A Thousand Nights (for example, I assumed that the characters would all remain unnamed as they did in the previous book) but once I got into the book I really enjoyed it and began to connect with the characters a lot more. 

Although I thought the ending was a bit too rushed, the very last chapter really made the book for me. With A Thousand Nights, the thing that really stuck with me was how beautiful and poetic the writing was, and I'm so glad that Kingdom of Sleep still had such beautiful writing, even though it was written in quite a different style and voice. 

This definitely isn't a sequel to A Thousand Nights, but a companion novel - it's set in the same land, but quite a long time afterwards (hundreds of years, as far as I'm aware) and although key events are mentioned from the previous book, you could definitely read this as a standalone and have no trouble at all understanding what's happening. I'd also just like to mention something about the Sleeping Beauty comparisons - Kingdom of Sleep is marketed as being inspired by/a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and I think this may have put some people off, but in my opinion, the two stories couldn't be more different - literally the main similarity is that in both stories, spindles are the triggers in the Princesses curses. Because of this, I would definitely not let the Sleeping Beauty inspirations embedded in this book put you off reading it, as like I say, they're barely there! 

Have you read A Thousand Nights or Kingdom of Sleep/Spindle? What did you think?

love Becky 

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Diversity Recs: Characters on the Autism-Spectrum

For this post on diverse recs, we're focusing on book characters that are on the autism-spectrum. This is a topic close to my heart, as at the age of 18, I was diagonised with Asperger Syndrome. It makes it difficult to communicate with people, understand emotion and understand other people's actions but Aspergers is only one form of autism - there is a whole spectrum and these characters are on it. No two people with autism are the same but these are some books that we have found. As always, if any of our information is incorrect, please do not hesitate to let us know in the comments.

Goodreads | Book Depository

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

Yes, this is a sci-fi, dystopian novel with its biracial MC living with autism. Also an Own Voices book, we follow the story of Denise as she, her mother and little sister, Iris are moved to a temporary shelter on the day a giant comet is scheduled to hit their hometown of Amsterdam. There is a ship available to leave Earth but will they be allowed to board it seeing as Iris has gone missing and Denise's drug-dependent mother isn't helping? There are also Muslim and Jewish characters and I believe Iris herself is trans. This book is full of diversity, full of twists and turns and just a definite must-read.

Goodreads | Book Depository

M is for Autism by The Students of Limpsfield Grange School

This story is primarily told by a teenage girl known as 'M' as she shares her story of autism and her experiences whilst also dealing with teenage years and wanting to be 'normal.' Limpsfield Grange is a school for girls with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and we hear from a lot of the students. What drew me to this book, is that it was girls with autism who shared their stories and as I learned when I was diagnosed, autism is a lot harder to detect in girls than it is in boys so a lot of us can live our lives undiagnosed. This novel is heartfelt and important and delves into the world of autism from the people who know it best. 

Goodreads | Book Depository

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Released on March 14th, this Own Voices novel follows the story of three girls and delves into the world of conventions. It is jam-packed with diversity including Taylor, a girl with autism and anxiety and a general fear of change, an openly bisexual Chinese-Australian vlogger/actress who falls in love with another woman of colour. Filled with adorable romances, pop-culture references and the mad but incredible world of conventions, this book is highly-anticipated. This book also deals with feminism, slut-shaming, body-shaming and how important these girl's voices are. 

Goodreads | Book Depository

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

This book is written by Japanese thirteen year old, Naoki who lives with autism. He is very smart, very self-aware and very charming but he unable to speak aloud. Having to use an alphabet grid to communicate, we hear Naoki answer questions about living with autism which allows us and his family to understand what it is like inside his head. I must point out that this book has received some controversy as it is translated into English by David Mitchell and his Japanese wife. Some people are worried about the authenticity of Naoki's words and if they have been at all edited for publishing reasons. For this reason, the book has mixed reviews.

Goodreads | Book Depository

The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

Fourteen year old Ginny Moon has finally found her 'forever home,' a place where any foster kid would feel safe but Ginny is desperate to be kidnapped by her abusive, drug-addicted mother and return home, continuing her life hiding from authorities and from her mother's violent boyfriends. Ginny is autistic and she has very strict rules that she can't deviate from and moving away from what she knows is too much. This is the story of her living with autism, trying to fit in and trying to make sense of the strange world around her. 

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Before I start, just look at that beautiful cover. Ok. Serious face back on. We follow the story of Marcelo Sandoval, a boy who hears music that nobody else can hear and it is due to his unidentifiable form of autism. Having always attended a special school, this summer his father demands that he works in his law firm's mailroom to get experience of the 'real world.' Here, Marcelo meets Jasmine and Wendell and learns about jealousy, competition and desire. 

Goodreads | Book Depository

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

We follow the story of Christopher Boone, a boy living with Aspergers which makes everyday life a little more difficult for him, however, he is a mathematical and scientific genius. He has no understanding of human emotions and cannot stand to be touched but he knows every country of the world and its capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. His brain is just remarkable but when a neighbour's dog is killed, fifteen-year-old Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite detective (and mine), Sherlock Holmes.

Goodreads | Book Depository 

Shtum by Jem Lester

Told by Ben Jewell as he and his wife, Emma are struggling to cope dealing with their ten-year-old son, Jonah and his severe autism. The only way to further Jonah's upcoming tribunal is for the couple to fake their separation and Ben and Jonah move in with Ben's elderly father, Georg. What follows within the four walls of a small house in North London is the family dynamics between two men who won't talk and one boy who can't. Heartbreaking and important as it shows how families deal with their loved ones having autism.

Goodreads | Book Depository

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Caitlin is an eleven-year-old girl living with Asperger Syndrome and to her, everything is black or white, good or bad. Caitlin's older brother, Devon has always been able to understand this and can explain when she couldn't. However, Devon is now dead and her father just doesn't get it. When one day, she reads the definition of closure, she realises that she must go out to find it and on her journey, she discovers that the world is made up of more than just black and white. It is complicated and wonderful and strange. 

Goodreads | Book Depository

Rogue by Lyn Miller-Lachmann

We follow the story of Kiara who lives with Asperger syndrome and in a world where not a lot makes sense, she relies on the Internet to answer any questions she may have but some things don't have answers, like why she struggles to get along with other kids and why she has been kicked out of school. She wishes she could be like Rogue, a misunderstood X-Men mutant she looks up to. One day, a new boy moves in across the street and Kiara vows to make this friendship work. 

Love from Angharad @

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

(Huge thanks to Netgalley for sending me an eArc of this book.)

Jordan Sun is starting her junior year at performing arts school, but being an Alto 2, she's always struggled to get a role in the school musical. When the school get a mass email informing them that the Sharpshooters, the school's revered all-male a cappella group, Jordan is determined to make this year different. She cross-dresses as a guy, Julian, and discovers that, as a Tenor 1, she's just what the Sharpshooters need.

+ Our main character represents a lot of things. Jordan is a bisexual (which she discovers throughout the course of the novel), Chinese-American girl coming from a poor family. She's tall and has a low voice, making her easily pass as a guy. All of these things have stopped her from achieving her goals in Kensington, but as a guy, she finds her place. During the beginning of her transformation into Julian, she Googles ways to flatten her chest and comes across a website for trans people. What follows is an important narrative as Jordan compares her cross-dressing as a disguise and lie whereas for trans, it's a very different and important matter. The book also touches upon sexuality and gender stereotypes as Jordan regularly calls out acts of sexism in her role as Julian.

+ Upon hearing that Jordan would be the only main female character in this book, amongst a group of all males, I was hesitant but this is a very interesting and diverse group of boys. Isaac who is Japanese, Trav who is black, Jon Cox who has a learning disability and Nihal, a Sikh guy who reveals that he is gay. Jordan develops a friendship with each of them and I especially loved her friendship with Nihal who becomes something of a confidante. I just loved the bond between them and their domesticity during rehearsal. I'm a sucker for domesticity! 

+ The prose was beautiful, flowing like music itself and despite the book focusing on a subject I'm not clued up on (music, singing, a cappella), the author manages to let it flow naturally, never info-dumping any of the technical terms. The book is split into four parts but it is a novel you can definitely read in one sitting. It manages to touch upon important subjects and represent them without preaching or making the narrative too difficult. It is a style of contemporary that we need more of.

+ Overall, I liked being inside Jordan's head. I liked her transformation into Julian and how it changed her and also the high expectations she puts on herself to please her parents. Jordan is also dealing with an emotional breakup throughout the course of the novel and it was so refreshing to see her journey through accepting its end. This book just manages to deal with so many topics and issues and yet never rushes over the main story. Riley Redgate just proves that you can still deal with important issues in a YA contemporary novel without it being the main focus. Jordan destroys gender norms one page at a time and it was truly an honour to have met her and the Sharpshooters.

Love from Angharad,

Monday, 9 January 2017

Diversity Recs: Bisexual Characters in Fiction

In our latest diversity recs post, we decided to look at novels that feature bisexual characters. When searching for books with LGBT+ representation, it can be surprisingly hard to find ones with characters who are bisexual. The following are our top 10 picks, all of which are already released or due to be released at some point this year! 

How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake
Goodreads | Book Depository | Release Date: 2nd May 

All Grace wants is a normal life, where she doesn't have to worry about paying the bills, constantly moving around, or her unreliable mother and her latest boyfriend (who just happens to be the father of Grace's ex-boyfriend). Grace's plans to lie low until graduation are disrupted when she meets Eva - a girl with her own ghosts. This is a story of family relationships, and two girls in love helping each other to overcome their obstacles in life.

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley
Goodreads | Book Depository | Release Date: 31st January

Aki knows that she is bisexual, but has only dated guys before - and has only come out to Lori, her best friend. When the two girls go on a four week mission trip to Mexico, Aki doesn't expect to meet anyone that she'd be interested in - that is, until Christa shows up. This book discusses sexuality, safe sex, and the struggles that young people can face when trying to explain their sexuality to their loved ones.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Goodreads | Book Depository

Alex, a bisexual Latina protagonist, is an encantrix - one of the most powerful Brujas in generations. However, she fears that her powers will ultimately hurt those close to her, and in an attempt to get rid of them, accidentally sends her entire family to the in-between world of Los Lagos. Alex is forced to hire Nova, an untrustworthy brujo boy, to guide her through Los Lagos and rescue her family. However, there is a darkness running through Los Lagos that has affected her and her family more than she could expect. Labyrinth Lost is a novel with an almost fully POC cast of characters, and the fact that Alex has both a male and female love interest but this wasn't treated like a big deal (the word 'bisexual' isn't actually used throughout the book) really made this book stand out for me.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Goodreads | Book Depository | Release Date: 14th March

When Taylor, Jamie and Charlie go to SupaCon together, they know they'll have an amazing time, but they don't expect the convention to change their lives forever.
Charlie, a bisexual Chinese-Australian film star, knows that SupaCon is her chance to show fans that she's over her ex-boyfriend. When her crush Alyssa Huntington turns up, she definitely didn't expect her feelings for Alyssa to be requited.
Taylor runs a blog where she openly talks about her anxiety, and because of this, is scared of big changes. The one change she's hoping for, though, is for her friendship with Jamie to turn into something more. However, when she hears about the Queen Firestone contest, she starts to rethink her stance on taking risks.
A book packed with diversity, romance and strong female friendships, this is a must read!

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz
Goodreads | Book Depository

Etta is sick of the labels that are being attached to her and making her feel as though she doesn't fit in - she's "not gay enough" for her old friends after recently dating a boy, "not white enough" for her ballet class, and "not sick enough" after recovering from an eating disorder. When she meets Bianca in her therapy group - a straight, white Christian girl with an eating disorder who represents everything that Etta both does and doesn't want to be - Etta finds herself on a path to self-discovery and overcoming the labels constantly placed on her.

Far From You by Tess Sharpe 
Goodreads | Book Depository

When Sophie's (a bisexual MC) best friend, Mina, died in what everyone believed was a drug deal gone wrong (which they also believe that Sophie set up), Sophie was forced into rehab along with her and Mina's secret - Mina was deliberately murdered. Once Sophie is out of rehab, she's determined to track down Mina's killer before they track her down first. Not your typical romance, but instead a murder-mystery which also focuses on Sophie and Mina's relationship, Far From You is definitely different from the rest of the books featured on this list, and worth a read!

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
Goodreads | Book Depository

Frances, a bisexual WoC, is known only as a study-machine focused on getting high grades. However, she has a secret obsession - a podcast called Universe City. When Frances is asked to design art for the podcast and meets its creator, the two form a strong bond, and what follows is a story of friendship and self-acceptance.

Not Your Sidekick by C. B. Lee
Goodreads | Book Depository

Jess, a Chinese-Vietnamese bisexual girl, lives in a world where the majority of citizens have superpowers - including her famous parents. Being without superpowers herself, Jess finds what could be the perfect internship whilst looking for activities to add to her college application - it's paid, it doesn't require her to have powers, and she gets to work with her secret crush, Abby. She may be working for the town's biggest supervillain, but what could go wrong?

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
Goodreads | Book Depository | Release Date: 2nd May

Jordan Sun is starting her junior year at performing arts school, but being an Alto 2, she's always struggled to get a role in the school musical. When the school get a mass email informing them that the Sharpshooters, the school's revered all-male a cappella group, Jordan is determined to make this year different. She auditions in drag and discovers that, as a Tenor 1, she's just what the Sharpshooters need.

The Seafarer's Kiss by Julia Ember
Goodreads | Release Date: 4th May

When nineteen year old mermaid Ersel rescues and falls in love with Ragna, a shield-maiden, and the two are caught by Ersel's suitor, he attempts to force her to choose between saying goodbye to Ragna or facing the wrath of her king. However, Ersel has other plans and is determined to be reunited with Ragna. A bisexual, f/f retelling of The Little Mermaid with Norse mythology thrown in (plus, who doesn't love both mermaids AND shield-maidens?) this is a must read!