ARC REVIEW: Loving Lakyn by Charlotte Reagan | LGBTQ+


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Pub. Date: November 20, 2017 

I was sent an advanced reader’s e-copy of this novel via the publicist at Inkitt. All opinions are honest and my own.

Loving Lakyn comes with a list of trigger warnings. The author provides the list on her website, please view before going into it! I will also touch on the hard topics in this review.

This is a prequel to Charlotte Reagan’s debut novel, Just Juliet. This can be read as a standalone.

Lakyn has been through many hardships in his young life from childhood to sixteen (present). The story opens up with the night Lakyn tries to commit suicide. There are many suicidal thoughts, and various vivid scenes where Lakyn is cutting parts of his body with razors. Please be aware that this can be very triggering. The reader jumps into Lakyn’s past and present relatively quickly. Memories of child abuse occur, another trigger warning because the memories are graphic and occur throughout the novel.

Lakyn has always had a close bond with his Aunt Lily and Uncle Ben, I loved seeing the relationship between Uncle Ben and Lakyn. Uncle Ben was one of my favorite characters because he is an excellent father role and helps Lakyn get the help he needs. He never pities him or treats him any different due to his past and suicide attempt. Uncle Ben treats him as his own son. In this relationship, the adoption process is focused on.

Despite his depression and suicidal thoughts, Lakyn is also gay. He has support around him from his cousins Juliet and Rick, as well as Uncle Ben. However, we do see homophobia among his peers leading to Lakyn defending himself. Lakyn stirs up a romance with a fellow classmate who happens to be a football player. I really enjoyed this romance for many reasons. First, we see the “secret relationship” cliche. I liked the way this played out because we get to see two different perspectives of gay males in high school; one in the closet and one who is completely out. We also get to see how well these two characters balance each other out and the love they produce for each other.

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However, one critique I have is that this novel had one too many sex scenes. I would have been okay with at least one or two at most. It just seemed to me that every time they met up they just spent their time together having sex.

I really liked the realistic aspect of being gay in high school. It doesn’t always come with happiness and acceptance, which we see in this novel. There is also an encounter of homophobic parents. There were so many angles of coming out and I loved the way it was incorporated.

Lakyn also attends therapy sessions and I loved that we see Lakyn changing therapists. I feel as if YA doesn’t always do the job of portraying starting therapy realistically. Most teens go through more than one therapist to match their fit. Getting to see Lakyn move onto another therapist (who was a better fit) was great to see! Also, there are many scenes of him going to therapy and lots of dialogue with his therapist. This helped for character development.

Character development was excellent in this novel. We start with Lakyn trying to end his life and the misery he is going through throughout the novel. His secret boyfriend doesn’t cure him, he experiments with drugs to make the pain go away. Lakyn’s outcome at the end of this novel had me smiling and I really saw how much he developed in such a short amount of time.

This novel was very realistic and I enjoyed it so much. Lakyn is a real and very raw character. You may be taken back by his thoughts and actions, as I did. Honestly, I thought this novel was going to be too triggering for me. Some of Lakyn’s deep and dark thoughts resonated with me and this novel helped me see how far he comes. I hope you enjoy him as much as I did.

This review can also be seen on my Goodreads page. 


Pre-order the novel!  Charlotte is donating $1 from every copy sold to The Trevor Project – the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people ages 13-24. Every $1 = 1 more minute on their crisis phone, chat, and text lines.

The book releases 11/20. Click here to get a FREE ebook on release day.

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ARC REVIEW: Top Ten by Katie Cotugno


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Title: Top Ten

Author: Katie Cotugno

Publisher: Baltzer + Bray

Pub. date: October 3, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Goodreads


I recieved an advanced readers copy of Top Ten at Bookcon 2017. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Do you want a great book about social anxiety? Well, Top Ten is that book you’re looking for. Katie Cotugno inserts her own social anxiety into her character, Gabby. Gabby is a homebody, and finds it hard to easily make friends. She is constantly ridiculed by her older sister to stop sitting around every weekend and is forced to go to a party. If you know someone with social anxiety or you deal with it yourself, you will understand Gabby’s struggles.

This novel is set in dual POV and flashbacks. We see Gabby and her best friend, Ryan struggle through 4 years of high school and other serious issues. Ryan is a hockey player and he suffers numerous concussions. Through Ryan’s POV, the reader learns how serious concussions are especially if not treated correctly. Struggles of college acceptance and college decisions are also focused on for Gabby and Ryan.

I love the way Cotugno writes family dynamic, it’s complex yet realistic. Gabby comes from a family who tries different recipes and hosts family game night. She also has two sisters. However, for Ryan he is in the middle of a divorce between his mother and father, also tight on money.

Cotugno also addresses romance in Top Ten. Gabby is bisexual and we see her relationship with a boy AND a girl. Gabby’s relationship with Shea made me melt and I want to have a Shea myself. The topic of “girls and boys can be friends” is also included and it’s AWESOME.

This book met all of the standards I look for in a book: mental illness rep, LGBTQIA+ and hockey. I knew from the beginning I would love this book but I didn’t know how much I would fall in love with it.

This is the most realistic book I have ever read and I loved that about it. We see all different angles of Gabby and Ryan’s lives. If you’re approaching senior year of high school, you will resonate with these characters.


 

My Favorite Summer Reads of 2017


I had a pretty solid summer of reading and I wanted to showcase some of my favorite reads from the summer!  Here are just a few of them.

HOW TO MAKE A WISH by Ashley Herring Blake quickly became a favorite of mine when I devoured it toward the beginning of my summer, in May. We follow two girls, Grace and Eva who meet during the summer and romance ensues. I loved this story so much and I could relate to it a lot. Grace is a bisexual MC and the author herself is bisexual. This was the first book I read that featured a bisexual MC while I was discovering my sexuality. It was definitely a read that helped me to figure out who I am in terms of sexuality.

I was honored to have been sent THE BIG F by Maggie Ann Martin from Maggie herself! Maggie is one of my friends from Booktube and I adore her. I was so glad to have gotten a chance to pre-order her debut novel and read it early! See my review, I loved it!!

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I was able to snag a copy of my most anticipated read of the year, TOP TEN by Katie Cotugno from Bookcon this year. I read it while on the beach and I devoured it! This is another book with a bisexual main character and the f/f romance was excellent & adorable. We meet Gabby and Ryan through flashbacks of their high school journey. Gabby was one of the most relatable characters I have read in a VERY long time. She struggles with social anxiety, as well as the author. Social anxiety is portayed PERFECTLY in this novel, as someone who has social anxiety I respected the representation so much. We also follow Ryan, who is a hockey player and the topic of concussions comes up. I love hockey, so that was just a plus for me!

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A lot of great releases came out this summer. WHAT TO SAY NEXT by Julie Buxbaum was one of my favorite diverse reads that focuses on grief, depression and a character with Asperger’s. I loved reading from David’s perspective and Kit’s depression and grief was a great portrayal, I think it’s one of the best I’ve read in a while. I love Julie’s writing and I knew I’d adore this one!

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I’ve been slacking on reading memoir’s lately, and they’re one of my  favorite genre’s! I picked up BUFFERING: UNSHARED TALES OF A LIFE FULLY  LOADED by Hannah Hart. Hannah is one of my biggest role models and I just adore the hell out of her! She’s so positive and hilarious. I didn’t know much about her life until this book and it just made me love her more. She’s come SOOO far, I’m proud!

 

My summer reading consisted of many gay books that I loved. QUEENS OF GEEK by Jen Wilde is a book I picked up on a whim because everyone kept recommending it and I’m there with them! This book was AMAZINGGGG. We follow Charlie and Taylor in dual POV during a convention. Charlie is a Chinese-American bisexual character who is a vlogger and Taylor is a girl with Autism and anxiety. I could relate to Taylor 100% because my anxiety gets in the way during conventions, too. I loooved the f/f romance that Charlie encounters!

Now that summer is over…IT’S TIME FOR AUTUMN!! My favorite season! I can’t wait.

 

READ O RAMA Days 1 & 2 Updates


Better late than never, the first day of read-o-rama is almost over! I’ve plugged this readathon my channel but I wanted to promote it here too! This year, I’ve been hosting Read O Rama, a readathon created by Chloe @ Brunette Bibliophile, co-hosted by Elizabeth @ The Owlery along with myself and April Sarah. 

This readathon is running from June 11th to the 17th. You can still join us, if you’d like! But, we’ll be back before the year is over, too.

Follow us on Twitter for sprints.  We also have a giveaway running until the end of the readathon.

DAY 1:

80 % read of Coffee Boy by Austin Chant

Books read: 0

DAY 2:

Finished Coffee Boy by Austin Chant (89 pages)

Started How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake (37 pages read)

Books read: 1

TOTAL PAGES: 126


Coffee Boy by Austin Chant – a short review 

This is a short story following a transgender boy, Kieran starting an internship in politics that he was recommended for by a professor of his, Marcus. Coffee Boy explores Kieran’s sexuality and how he is perceived by others and it does not sugar coat the struggles those who are transgender deal with on a daily basis such as being misgendered. Coffee Boy ALSO includes a bisexual character and includes bisexuality in general. I would’ve rated this 5 stars, however I had to skim the last few pages because the sex scenes were in depth and graphic, which I was not expecting! :O Just personally, I couldn’t read those scenes. Coffee Boy has great rep and I loved seeing a story of a transgender boy in the workplace and going into adulthood (he’s 23 y.o.) versus Young Adult, which I’m used to.

I can’t express enough how great the LGBTQIA+ representation was and I LOOOVED the mention of pins to indicate sexuality or that Kieran wears a pronoun pin. I loved how real this story was and I highly recommend.

 

ARC REVIEW: Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall [spoiler free]



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 Been Here All Along 

 Author: Sandy Hall 
 Genre:  Young Adult, LGBTQIA,  Contemporary

Publisher:  Swoon Reads
Publication Date: August 30 2016
Paperback: 240 Pages

 My Rating: ★★★

A Little Something Different

Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee, and having his choice of colleges. They do NOT include falling head over heels for his best friend and next door neighbor, Kyle. It’s a distraction. It’s pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby. And Gideon doesn’t know what to do…

Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong…


This was my most anticipated release and I am so thankful to have received an ARC of it from Swoon Reads. Shout out to Macmillan & Swoon Reads for their awesomeness and allowing me to read and review this for them!

Kyle and Gideon have been best friends since they were about the age of five. They have always been next-door neighbors and have created a close bond. Despite their opposite personalities; Kyle: basketball player/jock, Gideon: geek, brainiac they’ve become best of friends. Their friendship is one you’ll be envious of!

This book primarily revolves around exploring sexuality and coming to terms with it. Kyle is bisexual and has been out to his family and close friends. However, he hasn’t told his girlfriend Ruby because he didn’t feel comfortable. He deals with finding ways to finally tell her this big secret. While, Gideon is exploring his sexuality and coming to terms with “being gay” when he starts developing feelings for Kyle. 

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Sandy Hall is a writer who likes multiple POV. Similar to her sophomore novel, Signs Point to Yes this book focuses on the main characters, a sibling and Ruby – Kyle’s girlfriend. We get to know these other characters and see what they’re struggling with as well as the boys.

I enjoy the way Hall writes because she has fluffy Contemporary with a hint of dark/important topics. Been Here All Along includes a parent losing a job, surviving in the real world/life after college and a learning disability. I enjoyed these topics being implemented into the story because they are real life events and need to be seen in YA more! Adding a learning disability really hit me because it was relatable to my life and rare to see in YA books.

Kyle and Ruby have a complicated relationship – there were times when it did feel toxic. Ruby isn’t the nicest character and seems careless when it comes to others feelings. She gets jealous very quickly. However, she redeems herself in the end.

This book takes a turn when Gideon and Ruby start acting strange which causes Kyle to become suspicious. It changes the story and the characters turn on each other. This really makes the story 🙂  

I loved Kyle and Gideon’s story and how many strong messages were in this book. Gideon is a friend you’d love to have. He’s super nerdy, kind and will force you to watch Lord of the Rings. Kyle is sweet and understanding, witty.

I think this became one of my favorite Sandy Hall books since A Little Something Different. I highly recommend to pick up this LGBTQIA book inspired by a fan edition of You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift! Kyle and Gideon will quickly become your new OTP and you’ll ship them as hard as I did!  I would read more of these boys in a heartbeat. I love them so much. Please pick this book up, it deserves to be read 🙂

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LGTBQIA RECS! #PrideMonth


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June is #PrideMonth! So, in honor of Pride Month I am sharing with you some of my favorite LGBTQIA reads that you should read if you haven’t already! Or.. re-read? Fine by me!

  1. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – This is my favorite LGBT book, ever!  It follows the internet relationship of Simon Spier and Blue, they met through Tumblr and the book is written in some of their emails which are adorable! The friends, family & relationship in this book is so great, I can’t express enough how much I love this book.

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3af15-wgwg2. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan & John Green – This is such a great book that features LGBTQ characters. The book starts off with Will Grayson (#1) and his online relationship which leads to him meeting another LGBT character. This book is hilarious, uplifting and you will love the characters. Also suggest the musical companion to this, Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper story by David Levithan

3. Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley – This is one of my favorite books of the year, I highly recommend it. This book deals with Solomon Reed and his agoraphobia and severe panic attacks. He isn’t openly gay, but his family is supportive nonetheless.

4.24464110 Signs Point To Yes by Sandy Hall – Sandy Hall is one of my favorite contemporary authors and I just read this book last month. In terms of LGBTQ, there is Margot who is not openly bi-sexual. We see her in the stages of wanting to come out to her parents, who are very strict. This story is a great summer read, set in the summer with triple POV. Following Margot’s sister, Jane who picks up a summer babysitting job and becomes friendly with their brother. Great read with a bi-sexual character with a road trip involved! MY REVIEW.

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5. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – This is a book I will always recommend because it’s quirky and fun! In this story, Lola Nolan is the daughter of two fathers – Andy and Nathan. They’re so funny and great parents to Lola! We also see Lola’s love life!

43270666. Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – This book is a classic in my opinion, it’s so great and forever one of my favorite books. We follow Charlie, who is a freshman in high school through letters he is sending to a hypothetical “friend” throughout his first year of high school. In this book, LGBT is incorporated so nicely and I loved it.

 

7. 22692740Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin– Recently finished this last week and I LOVED IT SO MUCH. I will be recommending this along with Simon forever. This is an excellent book about a gender fluid teen, Riley who has transferred to a new school due to severe bullying. Riley creates a blog that goes viral and Riley finds that as an outlet to the LGBTQIA community. I devoured this book and loved all of the LGBTQ aspects that are incorporated, it is definitely very educational and such a good read. Please, please go read this.

 


What are some of your favorite LGBTQIA books? I’m always looking forward to reading more, it’s one of my favorite genres! I love being educated on the LGBTQIA community!