#QueerLitStories: Black Iris and pansexuality

queer lit stories

This guest post series is all about queer people talking about their relationship with queer books, whether they saw themselves represented in them or not. If you would like to write a guest post for me, the rules and info on how to contact me are on this post.

I am so honored to have my friend and fellow blogger Melanie as my first guest, and I would like to thank her again so much for writing it and for all the support she keeps giving me ♥divider-2461548_960_720

When Silvia asked the queer book community if they’d be interested in writing guest posts on her blog about their positive or negative experiences with seeing themselves represented in literature, I knew that I couldn’t resist talking about Black Iris by Elliot Wake and how much that book literally changed my life.

I should probably preface this by letting you know that I am a cis, able-bodied, white passing, young, immensely privileged woman that lives in the United States. I have also had a very supportive immediate family when I was discovering my sexuality, and when I eventually came out to them all early in high school.

Very early in life I realized that I was attracted to more than just boys, so I took on the label bisexual in high school, even though I always felt like it wasn’t 100% a perfect fit for me. I had very serious relationships with both men and women all throughout high school and college, and even though I could say things like “I love the dimples on the lower back of my girlfriend” or “I love the broad shoulders on my boyfriend” I still didn’t have a good understanding of my sexuality, but I chose to identify as a bisexual/biromantic.

And then in 2015 I read Black Iris by Elliot Wake and my life was changed forever. And that book alone is what made me realize that my true identity was pansexual/panromantic. To say this book changed who I was as a person is honestly such an understatement. I read the most beautiful quotes that, for once in my life, described me and my feelings:

“If I was gay, I wouldn’t need an asterisk beside my name…… I wouldn’t have to explain that I fall in love with minds, not genders or body parts. People wouldn’t say I’m ‘just a slut’ or ‘faking it’ or ‘undecided’ or ‘confused.’ I’m not confused. I don’t categorize people by who I’m allowed to like and who I’m allowed to love. Love doesn’t fit into boxes like that. It’s blurry, slippery, quantum. It’s only limited by our perceptions and before we slap a label on it and cram it into some category, everything is possible. That’s me. I’m not gay, not bi. I’m something quantum.”

I cried so many tears. Happy, sad, questioning, understanding tears. And even though the main protagonist, Laney, never uses the word pansexual to describe themselves, Black Iris is a love letter to every queer kid that is questioning their sexual identity. I’ve never read a book that more perfectly talks about sexual fluidity still to this day.

Also, I completely understand that being bi doesn’t limit the person to only liking two genders, but I finally understood that my sexual attraction had nothing to do with gender, and I was honestly liberated. The feelings that I felt when closing that book still makes me weep to this day thinking about it. I truly do not have a combination of words to explain what I feel for this book. It was nothing short of a cathartic experience, and I owe Black Iris and Elliot Wake so much.

Black Iris is a book about vengeance and revenge and all the messy parts that come along with those two things. And I believe with my whole heart it is best to go into this story blind. But it’s very dark, and twisted, and I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, but it truly did change my life. Laney’s sexual questioning throughout the novel literally changed who I was as a human being.

But please use caution picking this book up because it heavily talks about mental illness. Also, trigger/content warnings for sexual content, bullying, abuse, addiction, drug use, homophobia, suicide, and talk of rape.

And this is just a hard book to read. It takes a lot from you, regardless of your sexuality. All the characters make choices that you are forced to watch, while covering your face with your hands, and squinting between your fingers. But you also won’t be able to look away.

And this probably goes without saying, but it was my favorite book of 2015, and will be one of my favorite books of all time forever. And I am forever grateful for Black Iris, because it was the book that helped me proudly tell (or scream at) the world that I am pan. 💗💛💙

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Audiobook mini review: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

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Summary: Introducing an instant classic—master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths.

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

Add on goodreads

book review - pink

★★★★

This was my first audiobook EVER and I don’t think I could have chosen a better one to start with. I don’t know how to review myths and stuff but Gaiman’s retelling was so good and it gave life to these silly and scary and traitorous and petty and clever gods.

If you already know your Norse mythology you would probably still enjoy this a lot, but for a complete newbie like me this was amazing and the audiobook format only made everything more right. It reminded me of my mom telling me about the Greek myths when I was a kid, and that’s how myths were originally narrated before people started writing them down.

I’m so so happy to have read this and I cried at the very end because I wished to never finish listening to Neil Gaiman’s voice. I don’t know how you can feel nostalgic of something you’ve finished twenty minutes before, but this book has made me laugh and cry and it has opened a whole new world (or nine) to me and I will always love it and cherish the time I’ve spent with it.


Have you read this or anything by Neil Gaiman? What else should I read by him?

Announcing #QueerLitStories ❤💛💚💙💜

queer lit stories

Hello everyone! Today I’m happy to announce my first guest post series, and it’s one that’s very dear to my heart.

A little while ago I shared an idea on twitter, not really thinking anyone would reply, but it got much more attention than I thought it would.

So, here’s what this series will be about:

 

Basically, a series to share how diverse, and specifically queer, literature can make a difference for people who see themselves represented in it (or not). Everyone’s story will be different, the books they’ll talk about will be different, their relationship with them will be different. All to show that actual people with different life stories and backgrounds live under the umbrella term “queer”, and that more stories are worth sharing than the typical m/m romance between two gay cis white guys.

I have temporarily closed this off to new entries on twitter because I want to see how this goes first. However, I want to give everyone a fair chance to be able to post their story, so if you only follow me here and you would like to be featured in this series please let me know through my contact page or send me an email (silviareadsbooks@gmail.com), or just comment down below, but please only do so if you’re sure you will send me something and if you already have an idea of what you’ll talk about. I will be sharing the posts in the order I receive them so the earliest you send it to me the earliest you’ll be published.

Edit: When you send me something, please follow these rules:
• contact me beforehand and sum up what you’re going to talk about in your post

• specify what title you want me to give to your post – please come up with your title yourself
• keep your post around or under 1k (1000) words
• send your post to my email as I mentioned above with the formatting you want me to post it in – bold, italics, quotes. Preferably send it to me in easy HTML (like you’d do in a goodreads review).

• tell me if you want me to post it with your name or anonymously
• send me any links you want me to share (your blog, twitter, instagram,…)

I personally can’t wait to share the first post later this week, and I really hope you’re all going to like this series!

The Sunshine Blogger Award

The lovely Ash @ wildheartreads has tagged me to this and I’m so honored! Also look at me, I’m actually doing a tag and not postponing it until it’s 347832 months later and at that point it doesn’t even make sense to post it anymore and- well my point is that I’m doing this now so y’all can be proud of me (and sorry to everyone who has tagged me and never heard back from me lmao – Laura this one goes to you).

I actually did this same tag a looooooong time ago I believe but the questions are different so it’s all good!

How Does it Work?

  1. Thank the person(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or on your blog.

Ash’ questions

  1. If your favourite book was adapted would you prefer it as a film or TV series?

    My favorite book series is Captive Prince and a film (or even three) wouldn’t do it justice, so I’d have to go with TV series! It would make much more sense and if done right it would be the best way to convey the same exact slow burn vibe that the books have.

  2. What would your dream reading nook look like?

    You know those couches shaped like an L? I love the corner part because I can sit however I want and stretch my legs all the way and I feel “safe” I guess.

  3. Paperbacks or Hardcovers?

    Ebooks actually gsdhlgsgh but I guess hardcovers because they look nicer and you don’t have to hold the book open the whole time, you can just put them on a surface and keep reading.

  4. Do you listen to music when you read or do you need silence?

    I very rarely listen to music when I read, mostly I just don’t think about it and start reading in silence. If someone else is listening to music I can read but it can’t be something with a lot of lyrics if that makes sense, and it also can’t be something that I already know because if I know the lyrics and music I just start humming along and get distracted from my book.

  5. Favourite meme that describes you reading?

    IMG_20170816_145541IMG_20170827_021846Screenshot_2017-03-31-22-23-41Screenshot_2017-05-20-02-30-37
    You get the idea

  6. Favourite genre?

    It used to be fantasy but now I see that I can’t read only fantasy anymore, I also need to read some contemporary stuff sometimes, so I have no idea. But I’ll just go with YA in general I guess.

  7. Do you fancast characters or do you prefer to let your imagination do the work?

    Neither, I don’t really see faces in my head when I read so I can’t fancast.

  8. Favourite trope/least favourite?

    Favorite romance trope: enemies to lovers
    Least favorite generic trope: dead queer people for the sake of furthering straight people’s narrative

  9. What fictional world would you love to visit?

    Earlier I would have said the Harry Potter one but since it’s apparently impossible to be a queer person there I’d rather go visit the Always Human world so I could try different mods for different hairstyles and looks and also knowledge mods would be super cool.

  10. What book surprised you the most (good or bad)?

    I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into when I started The Darkest Part of the Forest and I guess I thought it would all take place in a faerie world but it actually mostly takes place in the real world but then again nothing about it feels like our world because it’s all so magical and the writing is perfect to give you this sort of magical vibe. The romances also surprised me a lot in a very positive way.

  11. What was your last 5 star read?

    That would be At the Edge of the Universe (my review)! I loved it and it made me fall in love with SDH, now I really need to check out all his books.


My questions!

  1. What was your favorite book as a child?
  2. Do you get reading slumps? How do you get out of them?
  3. What’s the one book or series that made you fall in love with reading?
  4. What are your thoughts on ebooks?
  5. Are you more of a fantasy or a contemporary person?
  6. Who’s your all time favorite author?
  7. Do you read audiobooks? Why or why not?
  8. First person or third person?
  9. Plot or characters?
  10. Heroes or antiheroes?
  11. Single point of view or double/multiple POV?

I tag:

Elise @ thebookishactress
Laura @ thebookcorps
Em @ emspermanentink
May @ foreverandeverly
Acqua @ acquadimore
Alienor @ meetthebookworld
Marta @ thecursedbooks
Syd @ reading&rambling
Shan @ littleirishbookcat

No pressure to do this if you’ve already done it or you don’t feel like it!

#T5W: Favorite F/F couples

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started and I discovered through the lovely Samantha‘s videos. If you’re interested you can join the goodreads group to get the topics for each week.

This week’s topic:

February 14th: Favorite F/F Couples
— Who are your favorite ladies loving other ladies? (Note: this isn’t specifically cis lesbian couples, but also applies to couples that include bi women, trans women, pan women, ace women, etc.)

Last week was kind of a wild ride with everyone’s posts about m/m couples and I can only imagine what a mess this week will be. If you follow me on twitter you’ll know what I mean, but anyway here’s my list of favorite f/f couples in random order!

(Usual spoiler warning because these are canon couples!)

  • Cas x Swift from The Abyss Surrounds Us: I love them so much! All you need to know about this series is that it’s about sea monsters and pirate girlfriends and if that doesn’t make you want to read it then I don’t know what will! I love this romance because it’s so healthy and they recognize the power imbalance between them and know they can’t be together while that lasts. #whenwillyourhetcouple
  • Annie x Liza from Annie on my Mind: if you know me, you know it’s very hard for me to pick One favorite but if I have to go with one absolutely favorite f/f couple then it’s gotta be this. Silly me thought this book was going to be boring because it’s from the Eighties!!! How wrong she (me) was!!! I don’t know if I’ve ever felt a romance in my bones as much as I’ve felt this one. It’s like I was Liza and I was falling in love with Annie myself. Most importantly, this has a happy ending because sapphic girls deserve happy endings too.
  • Sunati x Austen from Always Human: okay okay I know I talk about this all the time now but LISTEN they stole my heart and this whole comic is purely amazing (the art, the friendships) but the romance, the romance!!! It’s literally the cutest thing I’ve ever read and I’m so happy that it’s becoming my legacy to have people add this to their TBR and read it.
  • Mia x Ash from Godsgrave: well who would have thought that after book one I’d be on board with this! But oh my god. Enemies to lovers is my all time favorite trope and this was done so right. I also love how Mia’s bisexuality wasn’t pushed aside for the sake of the romance – Mia was very aware of her attraction to men as well.
  • Barrie x Ava from A&B: I think this was the second or third f/f romance I’ve ever read and I still think about it all the time. It’s a perfect enemies to friends to lovers and it talks a lot about music and the creative process, as well as things like envy and social media exposure.

Also, just a quick reminder to enter my giveaway on twitter because today is the last day! These are all queer YA books and four of them have main f/f couples (two of which I’ve talked about in this post).


What are your favorite f/f couples? 

Queer YA giveaway!

I realized I’ve never linked to it on my blog, but I’m hosting my first giveaway on my twitter!

Since I forgot to post about it sooner, I will leave it up until Valentine’s Day is over in every part of the world (was originally planning to do it until midnight in my timezone).

Good luck!

Down the TBR hole #4


down the TBR hole

Down the TBR Hole is a weekly meme hosted by Lia @Lost in a Story. These are the rules:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

(I’m doing a softcore version of this, and some books will end up on my “maybe” shelf!)

TBR count after the last post: 499

Current TBR count: 504

(it’s not my fault that I keep finding amazing upcoming releases shut up)


34567489Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

This sounds cool and A LOT of my friends have given it 4 or 5 stars but the few ones who have given it 1 star make such great points that I just can’t bring myself to want to read it??

VERDICT: remove

 

 

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The Winter King by C.L. Wilson

I’m gonna be 100% honest at the time I’m writing this I’ve just drunk half a bottle of mead and I can’t bring myself to even read the synopsis but the cover alone looks way too heterosexual and literally none of my friends have read this

VERDICT: remove

 

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Smoke and Mirrors by Jess Haines

I don’t really know, none of my friends have read this either and that’s always the first thing I look at when deciding about these things… I just don’t want to invest my time in something none of my trusted people have read

VERDICT: remove

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Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

I still have the ARC of this from last year and do you think I’ve read it? Well obviously not since it’s in this list and honestly I remember liking the first book but eh. I’ll get to it at some point.

VERDICT: keep

 

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Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima

Since I own a full other series from the author I’m going to read that first and then if I’ve liked it read this, so I guess it’s safe to remove it and add it again if I should want more from this author

VERDICT: remove

 

 

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Sleeping Tom by E.V. Fairfall

I actually own the ebook of this! So I suppose at some point…? It sounded so awesome when I impulse-bought it, now it only sounds barely interesting tbh but since you can’t return ebooks maybe I’ll read it

VERDICT: keep

 

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Hunted by Meagan Spooner

This looks pretty average both from the description and the reviews and yeah I’m not interested anymore

VERDICT: remove

 

 

 

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Fantasy of Frost by Kelly St. Clare

I have absolutely no recollection of adding this to my TBR :/ the synopsis sounds interesting actually and the average rating is pretty high but the few GR friends who’ve read it actually gave it a really low rating, so…

VERDICT: remove

 

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The Queen of All That Dies by Laura Thalassa

That cover is seriously pretty. Unfortunately, a lot of people say the writing is really bad, and I just can’t stand bad writing.

VERDICT: remove

 

 

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Radiance by Grace Draven

This sounds good in a guilty pleasure kind of way? People actually seem to like it and it sounds like a kinda different fantasy romance. On the other hand I don’t think I’ll be in the mood to read it for a while…

VERDICT: maybe


FINAL TBR COUNT: 496 BOOKS

Have you read any of these? Do you agree with my decisions to keep/remove them from my TBR?