“This Arab Is Queer” Review

The cover has a white background with the title in the center in outlined letters "This Arab is Queer" and the subtitle is in solid black with the editors name below it. Around the top and bottom are shapes in rainbow colors - red at the top ending with purple at the bottom Full Title: This Arab Is Queer: An Anthology by LGBTQ+ Arab Writers
Edited by Elias Jahshan
Published by Saqi Books, January 2022
216 pages
Completed March 23,2024

This ground-breaking anthology features the compelling and courageous memoirs of eighteen queer Arab writers — some international bestselling, others using pseudonyms. Here, we find heart-warming connections and moments of celebration alongside essays exploring the challenges of being LGBTQ+ and Arab.

From a military base in the Gulf to loving whispers caught between bedsheets; and from touring overseas as a drag queen to a concern in Cairo where the rainbow flag was raised to a crowd of thousands, this collection celebrates the true colours of a vibrant Arab queer experience.

This was a great collection of stories. Each one felt important to read and understand as the individuals told their stories. As the introduction explains being Arab and Queer can be difficult for a number of reasons and each person has had to deal with a lot because of where they come from. There are also other issues they have to deal with as well. There was a range of different queer topics that were good and informative. Some stories were harder to read than others – with different issues happening to the individuals. I’m glad I read this book and I’ve already looked up the authors to learn more about them.

2024 Trans Rights Read-a-Thon

Information graphic announcing the read a thon and the dates March 22nd through 29th and my two goals to raise money for OUT MetroWest and to read at least three books. The covers for the books are displayed in the picture and are also named in the text of the postThe 2024 Trans Rights Read-a-Thon has begun and this year I am fundraising for OUT MetroWest located in Framingham, Massachusetts!

“The Trans Rights Readathon is an annual call to action to readers and book lovers in support of Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV) on March 31st.”

My Fundraiser for OUT MetroWest

More information about the Trans Rights Readathon

I will be reading the following books this year:

“This Arab is Queer: An Anthology by LGBTQ+ Arab Writers”
Edited by Elias Jahshan

“Real Sugar is Hard to Find” a collection of short stories by
Sim Kern

“Breakout” – first novel in new series by Alek Cristea, described as a “space-opera/cyberpunk adventure featuring queer teens in space fighting back against oppression.”

Previous books I’ve read with Trans characters or written by Trans individuals include:

“The Thirty Names of Night” by Zeyn Joukhadar

“Seeds for the Swarm” by Sim Kern

“Transcendent: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction” by K.M. Szpara et al.

Other books written by or with Trans individuals

“Lakelore” by Anna-Marie McLemore

“Depart, Depart!” By Sim Kern

“Hell Followed With Us” by Andrew Joseph White

“We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir” by Samra Habib

“VenCo” by Cherie Dimaline

“The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester” by Maya MacGregor

“The Wicked Bargain” by Gabe Cole Novoa

“The Evolving Truth of Ever-Stronger Will” by Maya MacGregor

“The Free People’s Village” by Sim Kern

“The Gilded Ones” trilogy by Namina Forna


“The Eternal Ones” Review

The cover is blue. There is a young dark skinned woman on the cover facing towards the left with her head facing forwards. She has log black hair tied in braids with several gold claps holding it. She is also wearing a short sleeved gold and green tunic and necklaces in various colors. She has gold designs on her cheek and a gold earring.  The title is near the bottom of the cover across the woman.Written by Namina Forna
Published by Delacorte Press, February 2024
480 pages
Completed March 13, 2024

Mere weeks after confronting the Gilded Ones—the false beings she once believed to be her family—Deka is on the hunt. In order to kill the gods, whose ravenous competition for power is bleeding Otera dry, she must uncover the source of her divinity. But with her mortal body on the verge of ruin, Deka is running out of time—to save herself and an empire that’s tearing itself apart at its seams.

When Deka’s search leads her and her friends to the edge of the world as they know it, they discover an astonishing new realm, one which holds the key to Deka’s past. Yet it also illuminates a devastating decision she must soon make…

Choose to be reborn as a god, losing everyone she loves in the process. Or bring about the end of the world.

I really enjoyed the this book and the resolution to the series. While I don’t love everything about how it turned out I felt like it was realistic for the story being told. As with the previous novels I enjoyed the character development and relationships Deka continued to develop with the other characters, new and previously met. Throughout the series the world building was interesting with the different gods and how they ended up doing what they did which influenced how humans developed.

“The Merciless Ones” Review

The cover is red. There is a young dark skinned woman on the cover facing forwards holding a sword up in the area with log black hair tied in braids with several gold claps holding it. She is also wearing a short sleeved gold and green tunic and necklaces in various colors. She has gold designs on her cheek and a gold earring.  The title is near the bottom of the cover across the woman.Written by Namina Forna
Published by Delacorte Press, May 2022
432 pages
Completed March 10, 2024

It’s been six months since Deka has freed the goddesses and discovered who she really is. There are now wars waging across the kingdom. Otereans now think jatu are traitors to the nation. Deka is called a monster.

But the real battle has only just begun and Deka must lead the charge. Deka is tasked with freeing the rest of the goddesses. Only as she begins to free them, she begins to see a strange symbol everywhere in places of worship and worn on armor. There’s something unnatural about that symbol; just looking at it makes Deka lose her senses. Even worse, it seems to repel her powers. She can’t command or communicate with the new deathshrieks. In fact, she can’t even understand them when they speak.

Deka knows freeing the goddesses is just the beginning. She can tell whatever dark force out is powerful and there is something sinister out there threatening the kingdom connected to that symbol–something merciless–that her army will need to stop before humanity crumbles. But Deka’s powers are only getting stronger…and her strongest weapon could be herself.

This was a great sequel to the first book. A lot of things were happening and Deka and her friends were learning a lot of truths about their world. I really enjoyed how everything played out and the way the relationships developed. There was a lot of information dumping but it felt necessary for the plot and everything that was going on. Plus it is also the middle book in a trilogy and that’s what usually happens. Overall it was a great book and I’m excited to read the conclusion.

“The Infinite” Review

The cover is mostly blue and orange and has the figure of a person in dark clothing standing on a ledge pointing at a tentacle that is reaching out - there is light between them. Above is the body or head of a creature with serial eyes and more tentacles around the head. Written by Ada Hoffmann
Published by Angry Robot, January 2023
400 pages
Completed March 6, 2024

Time is running out for the planet Jai. The artificially intelligent Gods who rule the galaxy have withdrawn their protection from the chaos-ravaged world, just as their most ancient enemy closes in. For Yasira Shien, who has devoted herself to the fragile planet’s nascent rebellion, it’s time to do or die – and the odds are overwhelming. Enter Dr. Evianna Talirr. Talirr, the visionary who decimated the planet and began its rebellion, is not a woman to be trusted. But she’s returned with an unsettling prophecy: the only way to save Jai is for Yasira to die. Yasira knows it can’t be that simple. But as she frantically searches for other options, what she finds will upend everything she knew about the Gods, the galaxy she lives in, and herself.

This was a great conclusion to the trilogy. I enjoyed reading how everything ending. I liked the way the story was formatted as a method to explain some of what had been happening in the past to lead to the current issues. That was a good way of doing things. There were a couple interesting plot twists along the way that made things more interesting as things developed. The ending felt realistic for all that had happened and how things were going. All and all a great series.

“The Gilded Ones” Review

The cover is mostly green with yellow gold glow in the top right corner. There is a young dark skinned woman on the cover facing towards the right with log black hair tied in braids with several gold claps holding it. She is also wearing a short sleeved gold and green tunic and necklaces in various colors. She has gold designs on her cheek and a gold earring.  The title is near the bottom of the cover across the woman.Written by Namina Forna
Published By Delacorte Press, February 2021
418 pages
Completed February 25, 2024

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

This was a really cool story with a lot of interesting twists and turns in the reality of what was going on and why it was happening. I really enjoyed how it played out and how everything was revealed. I liked the relationships Deka developed with the other characters as they learned how to fight and more about what was going on as the story progressed. This is the first book in a trilogy and I’m excited to read what happens next.

“Ring Shout” Review

The cover of the book is read with a hooded KKK member in in the center the eye holes are ruined with teeth at the top and bottom. Black hands are held up in front of the figure. The authors name is near the top of the hood while the title is under the eye holes. Written by P. Djèlí Clark
Published by Tordotcom, October 2020
185 pages
Completed February 20, 2024

In 1915, The Birth of a Nation cast a spell across America, swelling the Klan’s ranks and drinking deep from the darkest thoughts of white folk. All across the nation they ride, spreading fear and violence among the vulnerable. They plan to bring Hell to Earth. But even Ku Kluxes can die.

Standing in their way is Maryse Boudreaux and her fellow resistance fighters, a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter. Armed with blade, bullet, and bomb, they hunt their hunters and send the Klan’s demons straight to Hell. But something awful’s brewing in Macon, and the war on Hell is about to heat up.

Can Maryse stop the Klan before it ends the world?

This was a very cool short story. I really enjoyed the characters and the way everything played out. Maryse is a great character and I liked the development of her character as she learned more about what was going on and the resolution of everything. I liked that the story has a good resolution while still living things open for more. The fight isn’t over – because things never really end that way but this story has an ending that serves the purpose of the story.

“The Fallen” Review

A person is sitting on a road that is broken in pieces and looking into the distance. Around and above them large structures can be seen as if the road was picked up and twisted into air with green branches coming off in various angles. A yellow sun is visible at the middle left side of the page and the sky is purple and blue. Written by Ada Hoffmann
Published by Angry Robot, July 2021
258 pages (some places say 368 but the digital version has less)
Completed February 17, 2024

The laws of physics acting on the planet of Jai have been forever upended; its surface completely altered, and its inhabitants permanently changed, causing chaos. Fearing heresy, the artificially intelligent Gods that once ruled the galaxy became the planet’s jailers.

Tiv Hunt, who once trusted these Gods completely, spends her days helping the last remaining survivors of Jai. Everyone is fighting for their freedom and they call out for drastic action from their saviour, Tiv’s girlfriend Yasira. But Yasira has become deeply ill, debilitated by her Outside exposure, and is barely able to breathe, let alone lead a revolution.

Hunted by the Gods and Akavi, the disgraced angel, Yasira and Tiv must delve further than ever before into the maddening mysteries of their fractured planet in order to save – or perhaps even destroy – their fading world.

This was a fun and interesting sequel to “The Outside”. It sort of has the usual problem of being the middle of a trilogy so things can’t be completely resolved but it also does a good job of setting up where everyone is at and the conclusion that is coming. I really liked that Tiv took the main point of view in this story as she struggles to deal with everything and help Yasira. Their relationship in the book is great. Yasira is struggling to deal with a lot of changes and Tiv continues to be by her side as much as she can. I think some might get a little frustrated with Yadira’s attitude but it really made sense for all that had gone on and the complete change to her reality. The other characters in the book are great and I liked that we got to see more characters and how they are involved with everything going on. I’m looking forward to reading the last book in the series.

“The Lost Dreamer” Review

The cover has an image of a young woman with light brown skin and long black hair wearing a head band across her forehead in red and blue and a beaded necklace  with multiple rows of beads in several different colors. There is a hummingbird on the cover along with flowers and other mostly transparent shapes over the woman's chest. The title is written on the top and the author's name on the bottom.  Written by Lizz Huerta
Publisher by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), March 2022
384 pages
Completed January 31, 2024

Indir is a Dreamer, descended from a long line of seers; able to see beyond reality, she carries the rare gift of Dreaming truth. But when the beloved king dies, his son has no respect for this time-honored tradition. King Alcan wants an opportunity to bring the Dreamers to a permanent end—an opportunity Indir will give him if he discovers the two secrets she is struggling to keep. As violent change shakes Indir’s world to its core, she is forced to make an impossible choice: fight for her home or fight to survive.

Saya is a seer, but not a Dreamer—she has never been formally trained. Her mother exploits her daughter’s gift, passing it off as her own as they travel from village to village, never staying in one place too long. Almost as if they’re running from something. Almost as if they’re being hunted. When Saya loses the necklace she’s worn since birth, she discovers that seeing isn’t her only gift—and begins to suspect that everything she knows about her life has been a carefully-constructed lie. As she comes to distrust the only family she’s ever known, Saya will do what she’s never done before, go where she’s never been, and risk it all in the search of answers.

With a detailed, supernaturally-charged setting and topical themes of patriarchal power and female strength, Lizz Huerta’s The Lost Dreamer brings an ancient world to life, mirroring the challenges of our modern one.

This was a really good book. I really liked learning the stories of the two characters and finding out how they intersect. I don’t want to spoil anything but I did think the reveal of what was going on worked well. Saya’s story was a bit more interesting but only because of what she needs to learn about who she actually is. The last couple chapters did feel a little rushed but it made sense given the context and the explanation of things. It also sets up the plot of the next book rather nicely. I’m looking forward to reading it when it comes out.

“The Climate Book” Review


The cover of the book has vertical stripes of blue, white and red in various shades that represent the average temperature in a given year. The stripes on the right are blue and the ones on the left are red. The title and editors name are written on the cover one word for each line from top to bottom. Edited by Greta Thunberg
Published by Penguin Press, February 2023
464 pages
Completed January 25, 2023

We still have time to change the world. From Greta Thunberg, the world’s leading climate activist, comes the essential handbook for making it happen.

You might think it’s an impossible task: secure a safe future for life on Earth, at a scale and speed never seen, against all the odds. There is hope – but only if we listen to the science before it’s too late.

In The Climate Book, Greta Thunberg has gathered the wisdom of over one hundred experts – geophysicists, oceanographers and meteorologists; engineers, economists and mathematicians; historians, philosophers and indigenous leaders – to equip us all with the knowledge we need to combat climate disaster. Alongside them, she shares her own stories of demonstrating and uncovering greenwashing around the world, revealing how much we have been kept in the dark. This is one of our biggest challenges, she shows, but also our greatest source of hope. Once we are given the full picture, how can we not act? And if a schoolchild’s strike could ignite a global protest, what could we do collectively if we tried?

We are alive at the most decisive time in the history of humanity. Together, we can do the seemingly impossible. But it has to be us, and it has to be now.

There is a lot of information in this book and I probably need to re-read some of it at some point. Each chapter of the book is by a different person with their one bit of information about Climate Change. Everyone needs to understand and accept how serious the issues are and that something has to be done. But as we learned with COVID it’s very hard to get people to change their habits if they feel like changes are impacting their way of life or freedoms. But we do need to change. We need to understand how much damage has already been done to the Earth and that if we’re to survive much longer we need to make changes.