Beautiful Quotes #129 / You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour

Beautiful Quotes is a weekly meme hosted by me, where I post some of my favourite quotes. Any other bloggers are welcome to join me in this and just link my blog!

Hi lovely readers! I’ve had a very packed and stressful weekend with family, it’s been lovely but also left me exhausted! I’m back to work tomorrow but I’m off Saturday as I’m meeting Sophie from Mind of a Bookdragon for the first time ever. I’m super excited as we’ve known each other for like 5 years and never met in real life!

I thought I’d finish up June with another Pride based Beautiful Quote to end Pride month on. I think we should celebrate Pride all year round, but why not have another quote today? Today’s is from You Know Me Well, a book by David Levithan and Nina LaCour about two friends trying to find themselves! I adored it, and I really want to read more of LaCour’s books because I also loved Everything Leads to You!

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“I hate that word. Straight. At the very least, those of us who are nonstraight should get called curvy. Or scenic. Actually, I like that: ‘Do you think she’s straight?’ ‘Oh no. She’s scenic” 
― Nina LaCour, You Know Me Well

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Beautiful Quotes #128 / History Is All You Left Me

Beautiful Quotes is a weekly meme hosted by me, where I post some of my favourite quotes. Any other bloggers are welcome to join me in this and just link my blog!

Hi readers! This past week has flown by in a blur of working and seeing friends and family. It’s also been an interesting week as I bought a Kindle! I’ve always struggled with e-books as reading from my phone gave me headaches, so after years I finally made the decision to buy a Kindle Paperwhite! I picked a scratched secondhand one up cheap off eBay and I’ve surprised myself by absolutely loving it. I mainly picked it up because I want to read Netgalley books, and I’ve already finished my first one (review coming tomorrow).

On a different note, today’s Beautiful Quote is from History is All you Left Me by Adam Silvera. I wanted to include one of my favourite LGBTQIA+ reads for Pride Month!

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“People are complicated puzzles, always trying to piece together a complete picture, but sometimes we get it wrong and sometimes we’re left unfinished. Sometimes that’s for the best. Some pieces can’t be forced into a puzzle, or at least they shouldn’t be, because they won’t make sense.” 

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Pride Month: LGBTQIA+ Books I Love

Hi all! I’ve been seeing some great LGBTQIA+ books around for Pride Month, and have been reading some myself. Today’s post is about some of my personal favourites I’ve picked up over the years, so if anyone needs recommendations for Pride Month reads, here you are!

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A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.
Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.

This is definitely one of my favourite all time contemporaries and LGBTQIA+ books ever. I adored this read, and it’s one of the first I recommend to people.

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Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close – until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don’t realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.

Another of my favourite all time contemporaries! I’d love to reread this book as it’s been a few years since I picked it up.

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Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

I had to include a few fantasy reads in here and this one is one of the best! I can’t wait for the sequel later in the year.

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17 year old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.
But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective. 
Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?

I only recently read this book (review here) and it was so interesting, because not only did we have the f/f relationship but also Bengali culture.

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Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?
Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.
That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.
When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other — and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

You Know Me Well stands out from other LGBTQIA+ books because it focuses first on friendship, and second on relationships.

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Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore, and he’s sort of got a boyfriend, even if he’s kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret.
Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together.
They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…

I couldn’t write this post without including the beautiful Heartstopper webcomic and graphics novels! How cute is this?

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Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.
Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.
But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?
Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.
Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.
But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a
third?
What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?
What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?
But what if it is?

I considered posting about Love, Simon but I think What If It’s Us is the more underrated read from these two authors and I love how it focused on the struggles of the relationship after, not just the meeting of these two characters. I also love History is All You Left Me, my favourite Adam Silvera book!

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In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.
Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

I only finished this book the other day (review here), but it’s still on my mind. I really enjoy reading LGBTQIA+ relationships as a subplot, and it worked so well in Girls of Paper and Fire.

I also recently read Meet Cute (review here), which includes a few LGBTQIA+ short stories perfect for Pride Month! Which LGBTQIA+ books do you love and recommend?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

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17 year old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.
But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective. 
Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life? 

What a perfect book to start pride month with! I delved into this book with little expectations and not knowing a lot about it, and I ended up really enjoying it. I always like contemporaries with a twist that stand out from the crowd, and this one did because of it’s Bengali culture and diverse characters. Reading about how other people live is so important and fascinating, and so fun to find out how other cultures celebrate.

In fact, the representation of Bengali culture and Rukhsana’s religion (Muslim) were probably my favourite things about the book, and made me want to go back to it. Learning about how deeply flawed Rukhsana’s parents/families viewpoints are kept it so interesting and engaging, but was also written really well. For example, she understood that even though they were misguided more because of their culture, Rukhsana made us understand everyone is flawed, no matter their background or religion. Hence this quote, which I loved and found so important: “Every time I say something bad about my family, it becomes more about where I come from than just regular stuff people go through with their parents.”. Discussing this topic felt so needed.

‘We must be the masters of our own destinies. I did not learn that until it was too late. You have to fight to take back control of your life.’

From a plot point of view, this book flew by. It’s only short but not at all lighthearted, and discusses super heavy topics that left me with tears in my eyes at points. I just couldn’t help but feel heartbroken over Rukhsana’s situation, and that shows how emotionally connected to her I felt. However, it wasn’t all sad and the lighthearted scenes were so fun and heartwarming, and often included lots of food! I think the descriptions of food and drink meant so much in this novel, specifically because it pushed the feeling of Bengali culture.

Talking of more heartwarming parts, I adored the cast of characters. Rukhsana’s friends and distant relatives, plus people she found along the way, made this book what it is. Considering we had such a large group of people, I also coped pretty well, and rarely got confused. That’s definitely a testament to the writing!

‘Sometimes you will hurt the ones you love the most. But in the end, it will always have to be your choice.’

Which brings me onto my only real issue, and unfortunately the reason this book didn’t get 5 stars for me. The writing felt very disjointed and jumpy in places, especially when Rukhsana would change her mind about things so quickly. It’s very hard to describe how the writing impacted the book, but it’s almost as if the book had a very detailed plot line with a timeline of events, but the jumps between those events didn’t run as smoothly as they could have?

However, the writing only stopped me from enjoying the book a little bit, and it’s definitely something I can see improving as Khan writes more. Because of that, I’d definitely pick up other books by her!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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