Maiden Leap – C.M. Harris

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
3.5 stars. Harris has written a really good book – but I’ll be honest, until just over the halfway point I was ready to give up and call this a DNF – then everything clicked and I wanted to know where it was going to lead.

The book alternates through three points of view – which is one of the things I found difficult about reading it at first. Kate is the main character, with the other points of view coming from her daughter Samantha and her ex (and now choir teacher to Samantha) Lucy. One of these POVs is written in the form of blog posts and comments.

The other reason I struggled is the difficult topics that get covered, homophobia and conversion therapy being the main two. There’s a major thread about marriage equality and politics too.

It’s an interesting exploration of relationships, feelings about the past, small town life and revenge. There’s also an interesting twist I didn’t see until just before it happened – which wasn’t necessarily unique or refreshing – but did keep the book readable until the end.

I would recommend this – I’d just advise taking into account it isn’t a quick read and you may find the first half a bit heavy.

I received an e-ARC via BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.

Handsome – Holly Lorka

Rating: 4 out of 5.
I read a lot of biographies and autobiographies when I was younger – across a wide range of different topics – but I never really had the opportunity to access many, if any, queer voices. The younger adult me would definitely have appreciated the existence of this book and I definitely appreciated it now – especially as someone who has experienced some similar feelings at times to Lorka.

Lorka covers a number of topics, many in a humorous way, but their exploration of gender and sexuality and their relationship to both are the things that really stands out, and act as the thread for the collection of stories. The topics covered are definitely adult in nature, varying from sex toys to teddy bears and top surgery to life as a nurse. I found some of the stories genuinely heart wrenching, whilst at other times I was laughing out loud.

I can partially understand the decision to mix up the chronological narrative of the chapters, but I needed something to tie things together to make it a little easier to read. If the chapters had all been bunched together in the same general topic I might have found it a bit easier if chronology was to be avoided – but instead I was often left at times wondering where in Lorka’s life this fit, which girlfriend were they dating, where were they living etc. Perhaps in the long run none of things actually mattered, and maybe that was the point, that irrespective of those markers in life, these things still happened, but it’s the lack of chronology or grouping standing between me and a five star rating.

Lorka was definitely an interesting person to spend time learning about, and I’m definitely interested in learning more. If you like memoirs I’d recommend you pick this one up and give it a go.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

How to be Ace – Rebecca Burgess

Rating: 5 out of 5.
I’m a big fan of comic books/graphic novels and this one didn’t disappoint. It was great to see representation of one of the lesser represented letters in the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. It’s wonderfully drawn, easy to follow even if you’re not a comics fan, easily digestible, understandable and super relatable.

As with most graphic novels it’s not a long read and I think it would be really useful in educational environments to educate young people on asexuality in a way that they may hopefully connect with. There are a number of books popping up in this kind of vein and this is definitely one of the better ones. By connecting it directly to the personal experiences of the author it gives a really good perspective so it’s not just a clinical representation of what asexuality means, rather a depiction of how people feel and experience their asexuality.

I’d recommend this to anyone who wants to know more about asexuality and whether you are aware of it or not, whether you are on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum or not. I’d also recommend it as a really good graphic novel on the merits of it’s drawing and storytelling.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Book of Queer Prophets: 21 Writers on Sexuality and Religion – Edited by Ruth Hunt

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
An interesting collection of essays on the topic of religion and sexuality. This was a hard one for me at times. It was definitely best read as singular essays, put down for a while for some thinking time and then moving onto the next one – so it took about a month to read and digest.

To be honest I picked up this due to Ruth Hunt being attached to the book. Some of the essays are of better quality than others, and naturally some spoke to me more than others too.

I’d recommend this to anyone – in fact I think it should be read by everybody, whether people of faith or LGBTQ+ or not.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Night Life – S.J. Hartsfield

Rating: 4 out of 5.
A solid book from a debut author. I had forgotten the blurb for this when I finally had the opportunity to sit down and read, so it was a nice surprise to find this storyline. It turns out I’m actually quite fond of books with escorts in.

I really liked Ronnie, but I wanted to know more about her. The book doesn’t provide many opportunities to see Ronnie in any other situations besides work and the supermarket, so I would really have liked her character to be developed further. Diana feels more developed as a character and I liked that Ronnie seemed to bring her into her own and encourage some of the confidence she needed.

There’s some mirroring of narrative in the first and second halves of the book which I found enjoyable and the resolution of the inevitable angst was done well.
I really welcomed the way the sex scenes were done in this book. Nothing felt overplayed or read numerous times before. You could feel the connection between the two MCs, both in and out of bed, so the ending felt natural.

I’d definitely be interested in a book continuing the series based on the epilogue – there are a couple of characters that could be cultivated and we could still hear about Ronnie & Diana.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.