Mini Book Reviews, January – March 2019

A staple of my old blog from one million years ago, my mini book reviews are back! Get yourself comfy, make your favourite drink, and take a whistle-stop tour of what novels, novellas, and collections I’ve been reading over the last three months.

Mistakes were Made, by Juliette Sebock – I reviewed this in full here so, suffice it to say, this is a lovely and melancholy collection of poetry, perfect for a blustery afternoon of curling up in your favourite pjs and reminiscing about the past.

A Hidden Hope, by Laura Ambrose – I reviewed this in November, but I had the pleasure of re-reading it for another project recently, and I enjoyed it even more the second time around. This saucy, geeky, f/f novella is the entertaining and engaging first book in the Romancing the Page trilogy.

A Perfect Balance, by Laura Ambrose – I reviewed this sequel to A Hidden Hope, too – so, to give a very short extra review, this gently BDSM-tinged story of two queer girls learning to work together in the publishing world is delightfully hot and excellent fun.

An Unheard Song, by Laura Ambrose – The last in the trilogy, and my personal favourite. I’ll have a full review of this up when the combined Romancing the Page trilogy goes live, so for now I’ll just say it has sapphic head-shaving, daring violin-thievery, and gentle agoraphobia-lessening. What more could you want?

Not Just a Tomboy: A Trans Masculine Memoir, by Caspar J. Baldwin – I received this during a giveaway from the legendary trans ally Dr. Adrian Harrop, who was specifically giving this title to skint transmasc people like me (for the uninitiated, that’s people who were assigned female at birth who experience masculinity or maleness as part of their gender identity). This is a deep and hopeful memoir documenting a young trans man’s life and transition so far, as well as touching on transphobia in Britain and resources available to trans folks. When I finished this I wrote a few notes about my own life and identity in my copy, signed my own name near Dr. Harrop’s, and posted it off to a new transmasc owner. I’m hoping to check in and see how far the book has travelled since I parted with it, so keep your eyes peeled for an update with a full review.

Mystery in White: A Christmas Crime, by J. Jefferson Farjeon – I read this as one of my Christmas books (the other was The Winter’s Child by Cassandra Parkin, which was gripping but problematic) and finished it on New Years Day, so I’m boldly counting this as a January read. It’s a vintage murder mystery set on Christmas Eve 1930-something, wherein a parapsychologist follows a shadowy figure from a snowed-in train, accidentally leading a rag-tag group of stranded passengers to an equally snowed-in haunted mansion. It’s full of murders and Christmas so, obviously, I enjoyed it.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D. H. Lawrence – Listen. This book is weird. It has a lot of weird things to say about sex, and I don’t mean that in a prudish way – I mean that ‘the loss of virginity’, simultaneous heterosexual orgasms, and the word ‘cunt’ are all given this huge importance to the sexual relationships in the book. I read it because it was my wonderful book club’s Valentines choice and they all thought it was weird, too, disproving my original hypothesis that I was too gay to understand it. I gave it a 6 out of 10 and it achieved a mean of 3 out of 10 from the group, if that’s any indication.

Your Pretty Face is going Straight to Hell #25, by Tukru from Vampire Hag Distro – Does a zine count as a book? I have no idea, but for now I’m counting Tukru’s cute and delightful perzine about what it’s like to work from home and the rebirth of her wonderful shop, Vampire Hag Distro. It’s fun, it’s pretty, and it’s relatable for anyone like Tukru (and me) who can’t help but yell at the victims in horror movies when they’re about to get murdered. Kiitos, Tukru!

The stock images of attractive people reading in this post are from the amazing Gender Spectrum Collection.

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