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1/19/23 --- Before We Were Innocent: Reese's Book ClubBefore We Were Innocent: Reese's Book Club by Ella Berman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I truly enjoyed this book. I'll admit it's a little slow to start, but the premise had me hooked early on.

Teenagers always feel like they're untouchable, like the world is at their fingertips. But it isn't, really. And one little mistake is the only thing standing between you and the rest of your life.

After that, the only thing standing in the way is you.

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8/30/23--- Quantum Physics for Babies (Baby University)Quantum Physics for Babies by Chris Ferrie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am now a quantum physicist.

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7/26/23 --- 장미와 샴페인 (Roses and Champagne)장미와 샴페인 (Roses and Champagne) by Zig
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

TWs for this story: Mafia stuff (drugs, murder, coercion-- you guys know the mafia is bad, right?), dubious or outright non-consent (rape), possessive/yandere type character(s), yadda yadda.

LOVE the art style. Pretty common BL/Mafia story tropes, but the characters are fun and interesting. I'm half way through and absolutely adore how fucked up Tsar is, and how fiery/spiteful Lee Won is. Lee Won not taking any shit while also being very sweet is my favorite thing ever ;A;

Bonus: If you're going to read any story, particularly BL or romance, I'm going to recommend you search around for the "wholesome" stuff if anything in fiction bugs you. This has all kinds of problematic themes that are obviously not okay irl. Stating such and being mad about it doesn't really do anything. There are plenty of sweet/wholesome/unproblematic stories available for BL/GL/general romance if you look. :)

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5/26/23 --- ManhuntManhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you're a queer person scared of sex, and the harsh realities of being queer in a world that hates you, you shouldn't read this book. If you think all queer rep needs to be "good rep" (whatever that means), this book is not for you. If rape and gore scares you, the splatterpunk GENRE is not for you (this has no more graphic rape/gore than any other splatterpunk novel I've read, y'all are just sensitive to trans characters being raped-- and you should sit with that for a while, because even if it scares you, it happens and it's worth discussing the complex feelings around it).

Fran is stupid, Beth is self-loathing, and Robbie is avoidant. All of these traits are just normal human traits, shown on transgender characters. They are not the ONLY traits these characters possess-- many are just being hypercritical because of the nature of the book. Even if you yourself are trans, acknowledge that your standard for media produced BY trans and GNC people is HIGHER than cishet folk. As if you expect them to be "better" because they are trans.

The book is hard to read. I wouldn't call the rape scenes "graphic," just blunt. [Character] is raped and it's horrific. That's what rape is. Horrific. Fading to black doesn't capture that same discomfort. And, whether you babyfashes like it or not, art is MADE to make you uncomfortable. If you can't handle that, step out of those spaces. I also recommend more reviewers do some research on "degenerate art," the terminology and what was produced, and by who. So maybe don't use that word so flippantly.

There are aspects of this book I hate. Fran is stupid, straight up. She gives "dumb blonde" energy. She (view spoiler). It's noted that she does what she wants, and if you tell her that it's a bad idea or question her, she'll make you the bad guy. Fran ha spissed me off for the entire duration of the book I have read thus far.

Beth seems to think of herself as a "brick." There's a fantastic quote at the start of part 3 that explains this terminology. She's filled with self loathing and spite, and is sick of being mistreated by other queers. It's well-known that "theyfabs" (whether or not I think it's a great word is irrelevant, because I knew exactly the kind of person the author was talking about when I read it), AFAB people using they/them pronouns who make a big deal out of BEING AFAB ("women/nb people welcome! but nb AMAB and trans women are not" is a common one), are pretty rotten towards trans women. Gretchen being catty towards them in her book and on her Twitter is a product of a consistent behavior displayed by queers who get a moment to step out of the pool of oppression. It doesn't mean they aren't suffering, but it's a completely different world. I think Beth is partially an embodiment of that frustration. She suffers similarly before T-day, being kicked out by those who claimed to be "accepting of all genders/sexualities," and has been deeply hurt by it. When those who are supposed to be your allies treat you like a monster, you're going to be pretty damn spiteful.

Robbie, for me, was not terribly relatable. He's avoidant, got to grow up doing "boy things," and has some pretty weird bits of inner dialog. I can't relate to him, as a fellow trans man, so I didn't enjoy reading his sections. However, he did remind me of quite a few of my transmasc friends, so my inability to relate is not equated to him being a good or bad character.

This book discusses difficult-- but very real-- topics that many queer authors (you know which) refuse to acknowledge. Gretchen acknowledges them. And you know what? They're scary, they're difficult, and they're degenerate. As far as I'm concerned, that's what art is meant to be.

Edit: As of finishing the book, I realized how much I truly enjoyed the characters. The third part brings out everyone's best traits and worst flaws, and the love between them all is something rarely explored in more cisheteronormative works. Queer found family-- where found family started, mind you-- is something all its own. And, no matter how horrific the world around us is, no one can take that away from us.

Part three rocketed this up from 4 stars to 5, and Manhunt now proudly sits in my Favorites shelf.

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3/18/23 --- You're just gonna have to go to the source for this one.

5/26/22 --- Invasive SpeciesInvasive Species by Karle Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book a great deal, though there were some inconsistencies. Mostly with how the virus was caught and spread, and how long it’s incubation period lasted. One character was infected at the beginning of the month, but did not change until the middle of the night. For most people it was written as if it was, at least somewhat, instantaneous.

Similarly, there were a myriad of typos. Words in places they shouldn’t be, weird caps locks, a couple of times where the author breaks from the story to comment directly to us or the characters. Nixing that would be a great improvement. Use of the words “invasive species” are also a little to heavy-handed; people don’t normally say that in every day conversations, especially not random farm hands or alt-righters. The message gets across without the exact phrase repeated once or twice every chapter for the first half of the book.

Note, THIS BOOK IS GOOD. I loved it! But it would do with some professional editing. Might have to keep an eye on the publishing company HBB in the future, and this author if he decides to write a sequel.

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11/1/20 --- Taken at SunsetTaken at Sunset by Ashes Thorne
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So.. okay. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but let me explain as best I can.

Adele is raped seemingly without reason by her maid and a stablehand. They force her to do favors for them, as well as for various animals-- a dog, a pony, and a goat. It's relatively graphic, though I've certainly seen worse.

What makes this story so strange to me is the lack of motivation for the rape and mistreatment of the main character. I assume that Lily and Jeb are upset at being lower class servants? But we don't actually get a confirmation of that, and to us, Lily becomes evil at the drop of a hat, without any apparent reason. It's pretty jarring.
I might appreciate it more if we had ANY motive, but we really don't. And Adele doesn't really do anything besides take it, either.

Other issues-- I have no idea what time era this is set in. The vocabulary makes it seem historical (old English maids and whatnot?), but we're not told and we're given no indicators. There's also a few grammatical errors, but nothing that makes the story unreadable. Just a mistake here and there.

All in all this was... kind of uncomfortable to read. It wasn't written poorly, though, so I wouldn't want to give it one star. If you're kinky and really into rape and bestiality and humiliation, I'd say pick this up! For me, it's a pass.

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10/12/20 --- The Adventures of Incubus Liu: Inter-dimensional Fugitive At Large: The Complete CollectionThe Adventures of Incubus Liu: Inter-dimensional Fugitive At Large: The Complete Collection by Elizabeth King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I want to start with the fact that this is a collection of short stories (roughly 12 pages each, give or take) that are only vaguely connected. Mentions of other characters are tossed around throughout the stories, giving it a sort of timeline, but each story can largely be read on its own. Each one also focuses on a certain kink, such as cock vore or transformation. If you don't prefer certain kinks, I recommend buying the individual stories in this series (available on their Amazon), rather than the full thing.

Liu is fun and interesting, though the characters feel like vessels of the surroundings/kink, rather than fully-fledged characters themselves. They are an object to be toyed with, which does fit the theme of Liu's villainy. The only characters that this is waived with are the officers trying to apprehend him. It's a nice change from the usual almost-facelessness of most other characters, though knowing their ultimate fate (this is a BAD END story series, after all), it seems rather unnecessary.

I enjoyed the willingness that King showed in writing the depraved, the author being descriptive and certainly not shy about anything. It reads as erotic, fun, and almost bubbly at times, with Liu's devious personality shining through each story. Though it becomes a little predictable, it's still fun to read.

My biggest criticism with this author's work-- at least, this one-- is the grammar. Words are completely missing from sentences, repeated, improper punctuation, and overall is very clearly unedited. If grammar is something that will drive you mad, skip this work. If you're more laid back, and don't mind the errors (none are so awful as to make the scene confusing), then by all means, pick this up. It's a delight.

I'd knock a star off if it hadn't been so fun to read, for the poor editing alone. I'm personally quite picky about it, but it just goes to show how much I enjoyed this despite the errors!

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4/14/20 --- Child of the WolvesChild of the Wolves by Elizabeth Hall
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I bought this in the hopes of something a bit more... comprehensive. The characters don’t speak, every sentence feels cut off, and the lack of description or dialogue removes any weight the story might have. I found myself unable to root for any characters, and not really responsive when things happened to them.

Although this is meant to be a book for a younger audience, I wonder just how young. I might say 6-10, if I were recommending books to kids who very much like animals. Although, if they’re 10, I’d be more likely to recommend Warriors.

The wolves are well-researched... for the time. As of 2020 we know much more about non-captive packs and their behaviors, as well as dog integration and interaction with wolves/packs, so it doesn’t really hold up.

If you have a young kid who likes to read, by all means, recommend them this book. But if they’re at a higher reading level than their peers it may be a frustrating read.

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12/28/19-- The Lonely Ace of Hearts: A Journey to Embracing the Asexual IdentityThe Lonely Ace of Hearts: A Journey to Embracing the Asexual Identity by Caryn Purdy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is an alright book for people who are very unsure of themselves, or don't know much about LGBT+ identities. There's a couple of debatable statements (such as "A" in LGBTQIA+ standing for Asexual, Aromantic, AND Ally), but I'm pretty confused why several area saying there is "dated language." If they're referencing the word queer being used, I implore them to head to a pride parade sometime.

If you're just starting your journey, or if you hate yourself because you don't want to have sex, this might be a good first step for you. However, it's not much more than self-affirming "You're not broken," so if you're looking for the more detailed sorts of things involving ace/aro/demi folk, you should look elsewhere.

A good few pages of this book is dedicated to websites that will be far more helpful if you're further along in your journey. Later I'll come back and list them here.

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5/21/19 --- Hellstar Remina; 地獄星レミナ; Jigokuboshi ReminaHellstar Remina; 地獄星レミナ; Jigokuboshi Remina by Junji Ito
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Physics aren't real-- and they don't need to be to tell the story. Like much of Ito's work, Hellstar Remina does not focus particularly on Remina, or her father, or the strange homeless man, but instead on society itself.

As the "star" approaches, mankind knows it will soon face oblivion. There is nothing one can do. In such a hopeless situation, how would you act? What would happen? Anarchy, blame, regret, fury, insanity; humans are capable of many great and terrible things, but why be great when there is no longer any reason to hold morals or social customs?

Remina is merely one of many targets (the primary in Japan, as she is who the star is named after) for sacrifice in the hopes of appeasing the thing. And this "thing" is far more than they could have ever realized.

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