Orpheus Girl

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this title.

Orpheus Girl is the story of a young lesbian, Raya, growing up in Texas during the 90s knowing full well that who she is, must remain hidden.

Raya, Orpheus, was left with her Grammy at two years old when her mom went off to be a tv star. Raya and her Grammy have lived with the grief ever since. Raya, who has no mother, has scars from a childhood surgery, must hide who she truly is, who she loves, in order to stay safe. But even when you’re so careful, sometimes being caught is inevitable. Orpheus must descend into hell in order to save Eurydice.

This book has tough moments, part of it takes place at a conversion camp and if that’s too much for you, I get it. But for those who think they can handle it or who don’t really and truly understand what a conversion camp is like, then please read this. This isn’t the only story depicting one, but the more that people learn how violent and inhumane they are, the better.

The writing is very poetic and beautiful and the style is gripping and romantic – even when horrifying you. For such a small book, it packs a seriously moving and impactful punch. I for one cannot wait for more books by Brynne Rebele-Henry, her way with prose and of making a classic myth story queer, is all I need to want more.

Whisper Network

When the CEO of their company dies, the women of Truviv worry that someone who does not belong in a position of supreme power, will get it.

This story by Chandler Baker has multiple characters telling the narrative along with splices of police interviews talking about someone’s death á la Big Little Lies. The multiple perspectives add a wonderful depth to the narrative, allowing you to get turned around and find out little pieces her and there to try and solve the puzzle for yourself.

This story… drags a bit, but not in the worst way. I think that it makes many wonderful points about being a woman in the workplace, being a minority in a workplace, being a custodian in a workplace, but it also lacks in understanding white feminism versus proper intersectional feminism. I noticed this particularly with Sloane, our main character. Overall the story does interesting things, but I don’t think the story structure is wholly original. Really the good thing about this, like a friend said, is that it’s cathartic. You get to read someone venting about things that you also wish to vent about. It’s basically an author validating all of your workplace sexist issues and fears and going, ‘yeah no this happens everywhere to everyone. Sorry fam.’

I recommend this for sure, definitely for workplace book clubs hahaha.

Well Met

Emily has moved to her sister’s home in Willow Creek, Maryland to help her out while she recovers from a broken leg, including joining the Reneissance Faire so that her niece can also take part. No problem, the people seem nice and excited and happy to have her, well except for Simon.

Throughout the summer Emily learns how to start taking the reigns of her life, going for what she wants, and asking herself and other the right questions. But is it always fun and games at the Ren Faire? Or could it be that her presence in Willow Creek is only welcome as it’s needed and once summer ends, no one will care where Emily goes?

Wow. Jen DeLuca, you have a new fan in me. Well Met is cute, funny, emotional, and heartwarming… with the right amount of cheese thrown in. I may be lactose intolerant, but your girl loves a good cheese. Emily and Simon and Mitch and Stacey and Caitlin and April and Chris – look I could go on, these characters felt real and full of life and I genuinely feel like I got to know them while also desperately wanting to know more. The romance is hot and sexy and at the same time sweet and cute. How did she do it? Well, you’ll have to read to find out.

I think I was about 50 pages in when I was recommending this to my friend. I was also guessing everyone’s signs and then having it basically confirmed some odd pages later, love that for me. Also love that whether intentionally or not, Jen stuck pretty close to astrological characteristics. Listen, if you want a cute, fun, and heartfelt read, read. this. book.

My Brother’s Husband

Yaichi’s brother Ryoji died, and now Ryoji’s Canadian husband Mike has come to visit him in Japan. Yaichi is not one hundred percent comfortable with Mike’s presence despite how much his daughter, Kana, loves having her foreign uncle over for a visit. Over the next several days, Mike and Yaichi connect about Ryoji, learn new things about each other, and Yaichi learns more about his biases and unlearns some bad habits.

My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame is a really really sweet story about a man growing in his understanding of homosexuality through the innocence of his daughter. Kana leads the story of Yaichi’s growth by mirroring his thoughts… except saying them out loud. She asks questions, makes comments, and pries Mike about being gay in the most sincere and gentle way that only a kid can. This allows Yaichi to get the answers to his questions without feeling rude or intrusive, and it also allows any reader to do the same.

Kana acts as a resource for the audience, a gauge, her reactions, her responses, her questions, are natural questions that a child may have when encountering homosexuality for the first time and they provide an opportunity for the audience to learn from her and by her.

I thought this was a solid, sweet, story that is really positive and good for the LGBTQ community. I think that it’s really more for people who are trying to accept homosexuality or have a hard time accepting it. As a bisexual woman, I appreciate the story, but don’t think I was the target demographic and that’s why I give it 4.5 stars. It’s by no means bad, but it didn’t serve me in anyway beyond the cute art style.

The Right Swipe

Rhiannon Hunter runs her own business and she’s good at it. She is in control of her job, her life, and her flings… until the one that ghosted, returns as a zombie and cannot be ignored. Rhiannon is smart, funny, brave, and totally not still hung up on Sampson. Nope, not at all… except maybe a little.

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai is fun, sexy, and an extremely feminist romance that will keep you turning the pages.

I really enjoyed this novel, I listened to it on audiobook (thanks Hoopla!) and I think that did a great job of distinguishing the characters and making them feel even more real. I love the consistent feminist commentary, it wasn’t brought up once and then forgotten, it was an actual point to the novel. In fact, aside from maybe one or two small things, everything had a purpose, everything had a point for either plot or character development and wasn’t thrown aside two scenes later.

I gave this book 4 stars and I highly encourage you to check it out.

The Turn of the Key

A five star read by none other than Ruth Ware. In truth, this is my second Ruth Ware book, and honestly, they just keep getting better. I’ll keep this short because honestly, at this point, I don’t think you need much convincing to read a Ruth Ware novel.

Turn of the Key is about a young woman named Rowan who takes on a to-good-to-be-true nannying post in a fancy, high-tech, smart house in Scotland, only to then be accused of murdering one of the children in her care.

This book has Ware’s eeriness amped up to eleven. I would get chills thinking about this book. I gave a copy to a friend because I just couldn’t stop recommending it to people. The sheer terror of Rowan can be felt, and sympathized with, on each page, and you can’t help but question and guess alongside her: “What the hell is going on?”

I listened to a spotify playlist of thunderstorms while I read this because it really fit the ambiance in case you needed more to push you to read this this fall. A perfect autumn creepy, eery, chilly read.