Writer / Reader / Fandom Extraordinaire
Chiara / November 3, 2016 , Thu / writing

I am incredibly excited to share a small piece of publication news with you all today!

I recently submitted a piece to The Regal Fox, a site for sharing writing of all kinds, of which pertain to a certain theme (or themes). When I saw that one of the current themes was bookish, I knew that  had a story that fitted it perfectly. I wrote The Beginning quite some time ago, and I don’t really mind if it’s egotistical to say that I love it. I think, when writers are so often filled with self deprecation and the feeling of not being good enough, it is important to know and to own the moments when we feel proud and in love with something we’ve written.

So, I was extremely humbled and squealy when Amanda and Jess (the amazing girls who run The Regal Fox) said they wanted to publish my story. This is the first time something of mine has been shared beyond this blog, or friends and family. I really and truly hope you enjoy it, and you can find it right here.

All my love,

Chiara / October 27, 2016 , Thu / this book is lgbtqia

This Book is LGBTQIA+ is my way of putting a spotlight on books that may not be widely recognised as such. I want these books to have as much exposure as they can, and I hope you add some of these titles (or all) to those never-ending TBR piles!

Today’s book is:

spare and found parts by sarah maria griffin

spare-and-found-parts-198x300

Title: Spare and Found Parts

Author: Sarah Maria Griffin

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Genre/s: Sci-fi

Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?

Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.

Why This Book is LGBTQIA+

The main character, Nell, is bisexual! She talks about romance between herself and boys and girls. And she also has a massive crush on a girl who runs a bar. I’m not sure why this book is flying under the radar so much in terms of its queerness, but it’s there. It’s 100% there, and this is genre fiction with a female bi main character. Which is just massive. And amazing.

The book itself is infinitely gorgeous, with prose that will make you envy the author. There’s also a robot guy whose innocence and lack of understanding is adorable.

I was surprised by how much I ended up loving Spare and Found Parts, and you can read my full review here.

(trigger warning: death of a parent, arranged marriage, and heart complications/surgery in this novel)

Chiara / September 28, 2016 , Wed / feminism

I’m a size M in most clothes. I don’t do much in the way of physical exercise. I certainly would not be able to punch someone, or protect myself in a physical fight. I don’t have any weapons in which I am proficient in use. I have long red hair. I like to wear flowery sundresses sometimes, and black corsets at others. I have a bachelor’s degree, an Honours dissertation, and a postgraduate certificate. I don’t have a partner. I care a lot about things like animals and social justice. I cry when something hits me in the soft place of my heart. I have walls and they can be quite hard to break down. I can be sarcastic and funny if the timing is right. I can be hurt by online comments. I am a girl. I am a woman. I am strong.

And yet, a lot of the books I read and the movies and TV shows I watch expect a strong woman to be something that is not me. To be thin. To be extremely beautiful. To be athletic. To be able to hold themselves in a fight. To be closed off to emotions. To not care about things. To be sarcastic and cocky almost all of the time. To not be hurt by the “small” things. These, apparently, are the things that make a woman strong.

And yet, all of the strong women I have met in my life defy this image, this character, this apparition, this ghost, this farce. They may have one or more of these attributes, but they do not fit into the mould that society has created.

I do not have to fight people and kill people and protect my family at the potential cost of death to be strong. I don’t have to win every fight to be strong. I don’t have to overcome everything in my life until they are but naught on my emotional radar to be strong. I don’t have to deny female friendship to be strong. I don’t have to deny comfort to be strong. I don’t have to deny relying on others to be strong.

The things about me that make me strong … are everything. Every part of me is strong. And some of me may fit into the mould of what society thinks a strong woman must look like, but most of it does not.

And the fact that people hold these characters up and say “this is a strong female character”, and “so glad that a character like this exists”, and “this is a kickass female character” make me sad. Because yes, they are strong, and it is good that they exist, and they are kickass. But they are not the definition of strong. They are not the bar to reach to call yourself strong. They are not the strong woman. They are not the only strong women. The way these characters are is not only fictional, but practically unattainable.

And we are saying: this is what you must look like to be strong. This is what you must act like to be strong. This is what you must say to be strong. This is what you must to do be strong. This is what you must be to be strong.

And it is, in a word: wrong. There are so many facets to the word “strong”. There are so many ways to be strong. So many things that make you strong.

I am so utterly and entirely and unequivocally sick of seeing these female characters lauded and praised for being a strong woman when they are not the only ones. You do not have to be like them to be strong. You are strong because you are you. You are a woman. And you are strong. You don’t have to be them. You just have to be you.

You are strong. Just as you are.

Chiara / September 7, 2016 , Wed / books & reading, lgbtqia

There’s been a lot of talk about diversity lately, and I have more serious thoughts on this that will at some point be transcribed into a post. But, for now, I wanted to share some LGBTQIA+ books that are coming out in the future that I am really excited to read about. Hopefully you’ll be won over by them all, and will add them to your TBR, buy them, or ask your library to get them. Here we go:

1) Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

labyrinth lost

A bisexual Latina main character with magical powers? Add in a gorgeous cover, plus the fact that this book is #ownvoices, and I am 100% sold on it.

2) Boy Robot by Simon Curtis

boy robot

As you can see from the Goodreads description, there is not much to know about Boy Robot. YET. But sci-fi queer YA makes me incredibly happy, so I’m keen to find out more about it and see what it’s like.

3) Look Past by Eric Devine

look past

A transboy MC in a mystery/thriller? It is like the bookish gods have gifted me. And so did Net Galley, because it’s “read now” over there. Go, go, go.

4) Marian by Ella Lyons

marian

An f/f retelling of Robin Hood. I was on board from the moment I heard about it. I love me some queer retellings, and I’ve been wanting this one for a pretty long time now. I’m excited to read the e-ARC I have (smugly grinning over here), and share my thoughts once I’ve read it!

5) When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

when the moon was ours

A trans MC falling in love with his best friend? Roses growing out of skin? SO MUCH MAGIC. I really, really hope that there is an adorable friends-to-lovers romance in this book because that would make my life, let’s be real. I pre-ordered the crap outta this book a long time ago.

6) A Good Idea by Cristina Moracho

a good idea

Another mystery/thriller, this time with a bisexual female main character looking for her best friend, who goes missing. I am so blessed with the books right now because lord knows this one is needed in my life. ASAP.

7) Beast by Brie Spangler

beast

A queer retelling of Beauty and the Beast, where Belle is trans. I … have a might need for this book. I really, really hope that the story is beautiful and gorgeous and respectful and done well because then it would be magical in so many ways.

8) Nowhere Near You by Leah Thomas

nowhere near you

I am so incredibly excited that Because You’ll Never Meet Me is getting this sequel! I want that gorgeous friendship between Ollie and Moritz again. I also kinda want them to fall in love, but that is severe wishful thinking on my part, I believe. But still. All the cheers for having these boys again!

9) Bad Boy by Elliot Wake

bad boy

Also pre-ordered the crap outta this book because of everything. The story, the author, #ownvoices – literally everything. SO EXCITED TO READ IT OMG.

And there we have it. A small collection of queer books that I am really, really excited about (if you couldn’t tell already by my little description thingies above). Are there any LGBTQIA+ books coming out that you’re excited about?

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