I can hardly believe that these words that had sunk deep inside me are surfacing and coming out through my own lips rather than resting heavily all the way to my grave.Mother, Concerning My Daughter
Recently I’ve been very taken with My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite and Concerning My Daughter by Kim Hye-Jin. I’ve talked about the latter elsewhere; it’s definitely not light reading. The mother’s prejudice against her daughter’s homosexuality as a symbol of her rejection of “a good, normal life” as rewarded by Korean culture is difficult to read and really the only thing that made me stick it out was knowing from the get-go — it’s in the blurb, possibly for exactly this reason — that she’s going to grow past it. For some readers, this may be where catharsis lies either because their own parents did or didn’t make it that far.
Either way, I was reminded of a moment in Christina C. Jones’ Something Like Love where (minor spoilers ahead), at a family gathering, Astrid is ready to pick up arms and go toe-to-toe with Eddie’s father. He holds her back and explains that, for his dad, the mildly offensive thing he just said is progress. At several points in the story, I was expecting Green and Lane to pick up and leave, no matter the fact that they’re broke and can’t really afford to go anywhere else. Green would have been justified to disown her mother rather than the other way around, and it’s clear she doesn’t stay for love or hoping that her mother will change. She stays because she has no way out. The fact she doesn’t isn’t a silent condoning of her mother’s words and actions, nor is it the author arguing that children have to remain in abusive relationships with their parents because they are their parents and they owe them.
I don’t want to spoil too much about Concerning My Daughter in this review, but I want to be clear about what it felt like reading it, so that any reader of this review may have a clear idea of its contents. So while I won’t obfuscate, please forgive some occasional vagueness.
Continue reading “CONCERNING MY DAUGHTER — Kim Hye-Jin” →
I couldn’t imagine one day where I might be happy, or even sad in an ordinary way. I’d run away, but I couldn’t seem to forget.Dovie, That Green Eyed Girl
That Green Eyed Girl tells two stories: one set in 1955, the other in 1975. The first is the story of two women, Gillian and Dovie, living together under the guise of lodgers. Then, twenty years on and in the same apartment they used to live in, we meet teenaged Ava who has to take care of her mother as her health steadily declines until she is eventually committed to a so-called sanatorium. At first, their lives seem hardly connected. But then, a package appears and, as Ava begins to investigate in the hopes of reuniting sender and recipient, more and more characters emerge who are central to the mystery.
Continue reading “THAT GREEN EYED GIRL — Julie Owen Moylan” →
That was the thing about good people. They did the right thing just because it was.— Orfeus, Foxhunt
Orfeus the musician is searching for hope in the heart of danger…
In a lush solarpunk future, plants have stripped most of the poison from the air and bounty hunters keep resource hoarders in check. Orfeus only wants to be a travelling singer, famed and adored. She has her share of secrets, but she’s no energy criminal, so why does a bounty hunter want her dead? Not just any bounty hunter but the Wolf, most fearsome of all the Order of the Vengeful Wild. Orfeus will call in every favor she has to find out, seeking answers while clinging to her pride and fending off the hunters of the Wild. But she isn’t the only one at risk: every misstep endangers the enemies she turns into allies, and the allies she brings into danger. There are worse monsters than the Wolf hiding in this new green world.
Quick review: Foxhunt is an incredibly enjoyable, fast-paced romp at the same time as it is a story that delves deep into the heart of its protagonist. That heart yearns even as it steels itself, and the yearning slow burn of the romance is delicious. It’s a bright look at the future, with smart worldbuilding; for me a wonderful introduction to the genre of solarpunk.
Continue reading “FOXHUNT — Rem Wigmore” →
“I wanted her to change my world.”— Gabby Rivera, JULIET TAKES A BREATH
“Mi amor, only you can change your world.”
An excellent story about a young queer woman from the Bronx who goes to Portland for the summer to find a new love, White Feminism, and the joy of community. Rivera’s grasp on setting the scene and bringing environments to life is masterful.
The Coming Out
Juliet Takes A Breath begins with tears. During her goodbye dinner, Juliet comes out to her family, and it ends as one might expect. Her father says nothing, her mother locks herself in her room, crying, and makes it all about her “shame.” Throughout the novel, Juliet’s mom is a well of all the things straight people say: ‘it’s just a phase,’ ‘you just haven’t met the right boy,’ ‘you don’t know what love is yet.’ It’s frustrating as hell, especially as Juliet struggles and needs her mother to be there for her. Juliet’s mom says she loves her, but that Juliet has to forgive her for not being able to accept ‘what she told her’ — and that’s a nice euphemism for ‘who her daughter is in her heart.’
Juliet arrives in Portland, OR, still heartbroken and heartsick, too: her girlfriend, Laney, is also doing a summer internship, in D.C., and Juliet hasn’t heard from her since before her flight. No calls, not even a damn text.
And then, we meet Harlowe. Oh my God, Harlowe.
Continue reading “JULIET TAKES A BREATH — Gabby Rivera” →
I didn’t touch the audiobook for a couple days after the first chapter with her, because I could not stop rolling my eyes after everything she said. This could have become a Did Not Finish, but I had too much affection for Juliet and too much curiosity about the story to leave it there.
“War never takes the wicked man by chance, the good man always.”— Sophocles, Philoctetes
Soldiers Live. They Wonder Why.
The concept of The Old Guard, sketched out in the exposition and then built upon throughout, is that everyone dies — just for some, their time hasn’t come yet.
The soldiers in this group aren’t immortal, they’re simply not dead yet, and that’s what elevates this from origin story to something more akin to fate — it’s time that’s getting longer instead of running out, and it’s as unpredictable as death has always been and will be. What binds them is war, is knowing that everyone they love will die, is that they will never know which bullet is going to be the last. They get torn apart and put themselves back together, until they don’t. They love and they lose and they search for purpose. They find each other in their dreams, and sometimes they find dreams in each other’s hearts.
Continue reading “THE OLD GUARD — Rucka & Fernández” →
If I said I met my vampire prince at a ball at the King’s palace, would you believe me?— OUT OF THIS WORLD
OUT OF THIS WORLD is an excellent anthology — crucially in that it introduces new readers, such as me, to such a wide variety of stories by a single author. The short stories selected for this each are set in its own, sometimes fantastic, sometimes magical, often dark sort of world; drawing on their own tropes and genres. The distinctions of each are easily grasped, so deft is Lundoff in crafting the impressions of those worlds. I could see the cushy, Victorian furniture in Medium Méchanique in front of me as well as the mean streets a femme private eye walks in Red Scare.
I may have not connected with every single protagonist in each of the stories, and such is the nature of anthologies especially when the stories contained are not all of one genre and style. But more than that, it’s down to the diversity of Lundoff’s characters that you’ll meet some you don’t vibe with and others you immediately want to go sit down for coffee (or something stronger, your mileage may vary) with. Even more decidedly so, however, I can name my favourites.
Continue reading “OUT OF THIS WORLD — Catherine Lundoff” →
We were miraculous. We were beach creatures. We had treasure in our pockets and each other on our skin.— WE ARE OKAY
WE ARE OKAY is a novel that does not centre its queerness in the sense that it isn’t your typical coming of age + coming out story. It is an undeniably queer story, but Marin’s romantic feelings for and attraction towards her best friend, Mabel, are part of an additional narrative conflict that is both caused by and a contributing factor to the story of her grief.
Continue reading “WE ARE OKAY — Nina LaCour” →
Born out of a want to read and write more about queer content and content creators, I created rainbowshelf.blog.
Queer authors and creators need to be seen and heard now more than ever. As a bi woman who came out only in her late twenties, I want to help and lend my own voice. I want readers to come together and enjoy literature that was created by us, for us, and with us. And, really, I just want to read more 😀
Continue reading “About Rainbow Books” →