Writer / Reader / Fandom Extraordinaire
Chiara / June 11, 2018 , Mon / 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:

the alchemists of loom by elise kova

Title: The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga #1)

Author: Elise Kova

Publisher: Keymaster Press

Genre/s: Fantasy/Steampunk

Her vengeance. His vision.

Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.

Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.

When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.

He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.

Why This Book is LGBTQIA+

I usually go into a book knowing that a main character is going to be queer, but with The Alchemists of Loom I had no idea. Most likely because I read the book before release so there was no one to tell me that the main character, Ari, is bisexual. But I guess that lack of knowledge made it all the more exciting when I realised that Ari was bi because I hardly ever get to read a surprise queer book.

It made me super excited to read a steampunk fantasy novel with a bi protagonist. We hardly get bi girl characters, and we get fantasy novels with queer protagonists even less. So a queer girl fantasy novel? HELL TO THE YES.

I really quite enjoyed The Alchemists of Looml. The world building was unique, and the storyline is one that I was intrigued by!

Side note: Another POV character is revealed to be queer in book three! So there are two queer girl POV character in this trilogy *cheers*

If you want to read my full review, head over here.

(trigger warning: cannibalism, multiple murders (including killing a sibling), physical assault, organ trafficking, use of ableist language, and racist elements (presented between fantasy creatures) in this novel)

Chiara / May 4, 2018 , Fri / queer movies i've watched recently

1. the limehouse golem

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The Limehouse Golem isn’t a queer movie per se but the main character – Detective Kildare – is gay. There isn’t really any storyline regarding his sexuality, but to be honest I was just excited that I watched a movie with a surprise queer protagonist.

In general, The Limehouse Golem was pretty incredible. I was absolutely riveted from the moment it started to the moment it ended. The actors were brilliant, the storyline was incredible, and the cintematography, sets, and costumes were sublime. If you’re into period mysteries then you should definitely give this one a go.

2. love, simon

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I finally saw Love, Simon! And it was so incredibly gorgeous. I actually saw this one with the queer youth that I work with, and I think it made the experience all the more special. To see these young people see themselves on the big screen was absolutely amazing.

Love, Simon was quite different to the book, which surprised me a little. But every adaptation has its changes. And I think the changes made were the best ones to make the story fit the screen. It was honestly so incredible to see a queer rom-com for teens make it to theatres. I cannot hope enough that Hollywood realises that the time has well and truly come for movies about queer teens to hit the screen, and that non-queer teens aren’t the only ones who deserves to see themselves, who deserve love stories.

I seriously cannot wait for this movie to be released on DVD because I know I’ll be watching it again and again.

3. call me by your name

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I m so very uninterested in people trying to pit this movie and Love, Simon against each other. They are completely different stories, different genres, and also set in different times and places. So that’s that for me talking about the two together.

Call Me By Your Name was a beautiful piece of cinema. It is slow and luxurious, which is perfect because it’s set in the summer and what is summer but slow and luxurious? It was so cute, honestly, to watch Elio’s feelings for Oliver change from the beginning of the movie to the end. The arc of those emotions and the relationship between the two were hands down my favourite aspects of this movie.

There were a lot of poignant moments in the film, and I was almost in tears when Elio was talking to his father toward the end. That conversation was such a good one, and so affirming for Elio, and I adored it. I adored his relationship with his family overall, really. Another one of my favourite scenes is where they’re all on the couch together and the mother is reading to her husband and son. It was beautiful.

I loved this movie and I know I’ll be watching it again.

4. professor marston and the wonder women

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I was instantly keen to watch this movie when I found out it was about the polyamorous relationship between Professor Marston, his wife, and another woman. I’ve never seen polyam rep in a movie before so I was Excited. And it didn’t disappoint.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women was an interesting movie about the origins of Wonder Woman, and the two women that inspired her creation. There wasn’t a whole lot about the creation of Wonder Woman, apart from a few scenes, as the bulk of the movie focussed on the relationships between the Professor, his wife, Elizabeth, and their partner, Olive.

It was interesting to see how their relationship progressed because they faced a lot of hurdles. It was especially hard to see how the public’s judgement of their relationship influenced Elizabeth, but it’s okay: this queer movie has an overall happy ending. The best part of Professor Marston and the Wonder Women was seeing the three of them in a happy, loving relationship together. It was cute as hell, to be honest.

5. princess cyd

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Princess Cyd came up when I was looking through Netflix’s queer movie section. It was around an hour and a half long, and about a queer girl so I decided to give it a go. Overall, I was kind of underwhelmed.

The story follows Cyd, who stays a few weeks with her aunt, who she hasn’t seen in many years. I think I wasn’t a huge fan of Princess Cyd because of Cyd herself. She was very strange, but not in a cool way. The way she spoke to her aunt sometimes was pretty rude, especially since her aunt was at least trying to make Cyd feel welcome after her dad shipped her off. Also, I think that talking to your estranged aunt about her sex life is… weird.

The best part about this movie was the romance between Cyd and Katie. Though I really would have liked some more scenes with and about Katie because I think she was an interesting character and her potential wasn’t used to the fullest. Most of all, I would have liked to see her talk about her gender, since Cyd’s aunt and Cyd had a tiny conversation about it but it was never brought up with Katie herself.

Cyd came off as pan to me, because when there was yet another sexual conversation with strangers, Cyd answered “everything” when asked what she “liked”. I would have loved to see more conversation about that, as well. But I think Princess Cyd was less about queerness and identity than about a slice of life and summer romance.

Have you watched any of these movies? Do you want to? Have you seen any LGBTQIA+ movies recently?

Chiara / April 9, 2018 , Mon / food

Hello there! You may or may not know this, but I’m vegan. But that doesn’t mean that I want to spend half my life cooking. I didn’t suddenly turn into an amazing cook when I decided to go vegan, nor did it make me want to try outlandish recipes that have 67 ingredients, 42 steps, and only a three hour cooking time! I’m guessing there are other vegans out there like me, so I decided to share some actually simple vegan recipes here on my blog. Often, there will be a gluten free or super cheap option as well! Today we are cooking…

spaghetti bolognese

Serves: Two massive bowls, three moderate bowls

What You’ll Need:

– 250 grams spaghetti (I use Barilla cause it’s delicious)

– 1 cup cooked lentils (lentils in a can are cooked, just don’t forget to drain it!)

– 1 jar of tomato pasta sauce (I use Mutti Simply Sugo because it’s amazing)

How You’ll Cook It:

1) Bring a pot of water to the boil and then add spaghetti

2) With about six minutes remaining on the spagehtti, put the lentils and the pasta sauce in a saucepan on low-medium heat

3) When pasta is cooked, strain and serve into bowls

4) Spoon bolognese sauce on top of pasta as required

5) Eat!

Gluten Free Option:

Use your favourite gluten free pasta, or for some extra nutrition try out San Remo Pulse Pasta

Under $5 Option:

Coles/Woolies brand pasta ($1)

Dolmio Pasta Sauce ($2)

Coles/Woolies brand Lentils ($0.75/$0.80)

Total: AUD $3.75

So there you have it! A super simple vegan recipe for spaghetti bolognese. I only discovered this one recently but it’s already a firm favourite. If you try it out, let me know what you think!

All my love,

Chiara / March 23, 2018 , Fri / queer movies i've watched recently

1. g.b.f.

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Ah, G.B.F. – where do I even begin? I was pretty much cringing through this entire film. Almost every scene was so non-PC that I contemplated turning it off. But I had spent my $5.58 on this movie so I was determined to finish it to the end. And I did. And I was thoroughly unimpressed.

G.B.F. definitely falls into the “outrageous comedy queer film” category. When I think about queer films in general they mostly fall into that outrageous comedy category or depressing tragedy category. This has been the way for far too long, which is one of the many reasons I’m excited for Love, Simon because it’s neither of those. It’s the run of the mill (and I say this with endearment) queer rom-com that we’ve been waiting for for so long.

But back to G.B.F. I will say that there were approximately two positive things about this movie:

1) The two main gay characters did not end up together. It was nice to see them as best friends without the need for the writers to shove them together in a romantic relationship just because they’re both into guys. There was a moment where it looked like they were going to but they didn’t.

2) It actually tackles the ridiculousness of the entire GBF (gay best friend) thing and how harmful it is to want to be someone’s friend just because of their sexuality. And how placing an expectation on them to be sassy and flamboyant because of their sexuality is bullshit.

So yeah, I did like those two things. I thought there was a third thing I liked but it is escaping me. Overall, I wasn’t a fan, though.

2. but i’m a cheerleader

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If I thought that G.B.F. was bad, boy was I in for a treat when I sat down to watch But I’m a Cheerleader. This movie was also an outrageous comedy, and there was so much inherently wrong with it I don’t even know if I can express it. I can honestly say that I liked one thing about this movie and that was the fact that it was a happily ever after for the main f/f couple. That’s it. I was not here for the bi erasure, the jokes about sexual assault, the simulation of “straight” sex (again, nice bi erasure). In fact I was not here for most of the things in this movie. I really didn’t like it.

3. imagine me & you

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I was super excited to watch Imagine Me & You because a few friends had told me that it was cute and important to them as queer babies. So I bought it.

This was definitely my favourite of the three queer movies in this post because even though it was a comedy with a few over the top moments it never made it into the outrageous comedy category. I wasn’t a big fan of the cheating element, though. I would have liked the two women to come together without hurting the people around them. That would have been nice. But I guess overall the romance was pretty cute. I loved Luce, and her flower shop was so incredibly lovely. I wanted to visit it.

This was another happy ending, which was nice! I wasn’t blown away by this movie, but I definitely think it’s one I could sit down and watch again because it has that easy-to-watch feel to it where you don’t have to think too hard or get too emotionally invested, haha.

Have you watched any of these movies? Do you want to? Have you seen any LGBTQIA+ movies recently?

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