September Books Wrap Up | BookTube

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to my September books wrap up. This was a month of really good books, and four ARCs! Okay, let’s talk books!

First up was a book that I pre-ordered and got on release day, Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. This is a #ownvoices queer paranormal romance, focusing on Yadriel, who is trans and comes from a family of brujx. Yads wants to go through the rites to become an official brujo, but his family won’t let him because they don’t think the traditional rites of passage will “work” with him being trans. He decides to just do the ceremony on his own, with the help of his cousin, Maritza. Then Yads decides that he needs to prove that it worked by trying to summon the spirit of his recently deceased cousin, but he accidentally summons Julian, the resident “bad boy” of his school. Julian has unfinished business and drags Yads into it. Hijinks ensue. There was a pre-order campaign that if you signed up, you’d get a signed bookplate and some character cards. They are gorgeous!!

I just absolutely loved this, and I will never be able to be as eloquent as Adri is, so I’m just going to link their 5 Reasons to Read video, which is *amazing* and you just need to read this book already. I will quickly mention a few key things. This is such a great representation of a trans person, you can tell the author has experienced some of these things themself. They explore the dynamics of a Latinx family, a lot of the traditional views Latinx families often have around trans and queer people, but Yadriel’s family is mostly accepting of him. There is deadnaming that happens, but the name is never said on the page, which I love to see. It’s never necessary for us to know the deadname. Also, magic! I will warn you, if you are averse to blood, there is description of that and self-harm, both for ritualistic/magical purposes. Honestly, this book is just incredible and there’s a lot happening not mentioned in the synopsis. It’s the perfect spooky read for Halloween season!

Heavy Vinyl Vol 1 by Carly Usdin and Nina Vakueva. This is a cute graphic novel which is basically about a record store that’s a front for a secret teen girl fight club that’s fighting crime and working to take the patriarchy down. I can’t really say much more than that. It was a cute quick read, and it also has queer characters!

All of the books from now on are ARCs, one physical from William Morrow and the others are ebooks I got through NetGalley. If you don’t really know book terminology, ARC is short for Advance Reader Copy, meaning a copy given to readers before it’s released for the general public. It’s a way of marketing the book and getting reviews of the book out before it’s published. ARCs are generally given to reviewers for free, in exchange for honest reviews.

Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots. I received a physical ARC from William Morrow. Thanks for providing a copy to review! Anna has been working as a temp for a while, but her temp jobs aren’t for just any boring company. She works as a temp for villains. Though it’s equally boring – paperwork is pretty much universal. She gets hired for one particular villain, and after working there for a while, she’s brought along on an assignment. Things go awry and she ends up badly injured and laid off. Angry and stuck at home while she recovers, she puts her data smarts and internet connection to heavy use. Anna discovers she’s far from alone in being hurt at the hands of a hero, and eventually creates something that shows how much damage heroes actually do. Her skills get noticed by one of the Big Bads, and she puts them and her team to work weaponizing the data against the so-called good heroes. Quick rundown of the representation in this book: bi protagonist that becomes disabled, multiple queer characters – a trans super, several same-gender couples, use of they/them pronouns. I immensely enjoyed reading this! This is a unique perspective, from a hench or an underling rather than the heroes or the villains. This book is not action-packed or flashy at all. Well, there are some scenes later on, but that’s well after all of the world-building, the mundane, the data collection and weaponizing, the lives of henches. I really enjoyed that aspect, actually. It’s certainly not for everyone, definitely not if you’re expecting action all the time. There have been some comparison to The Boys which I can see, but that’s still very action-packed. This is far more mundane than that, and it’s about the people who work for the villains, helping them do their “evil” deeds. There’s a lot of time spent on Anna’s recovery, how those injuries continue to impact her well after she’s healed, some roommate drama, and everyday things. It does get a little…disturbing toward the end, far more than I was expecting after having read most of the book, so be aware of that. I thought this did really good with the commentary on various topics that parallel our world. This book might be a little long, but I think it was worth it in the end.

Machine by Elizabeth Bear. Dr. Brookllyn Jens works on a medical rescue spaceship that’s been sent to answer a distress call coming from a generation ship that left Terra a long time ago. Her crew arrives to find that the entire ship is in cryopods, the on-board AI seems to be unstable, there’s a strange tinkertoy-like machine filling much of the ship, and there’s a modern ship docked that isn’t answering any hails. A rescue operation is begun, and they return to the central hospital in space. Jens can’t resist a mystery and starts digging. She quickly learns that there might be some life-changing hard truths she’s not prepared for. I will always enjoy science fiction, unless it’s *really* bad. Happily, this is not one of those! I immensely enjoyed reading this, and was pleasantly surprised to learn in the beginning that Jens is a lesbian and that she has chronic pain, using an exoskeleton that enables her to move around far more than she would without it and be a functional member of this society. There’s honestly so much that happens in this book, I don’t even know where is best to begin. Worldbuilding – it’s so complex and rich, and I really appreciated that it was spread out throughout this and not dumped all at once. This society includes a wide variety of species, and the collective term for all of them, including humans, is systers. (Side note: I suspect the origin of this term could be from Anita Borg, and is short for system sisters, which makes sense in this context. It also simply means sister in others.) I really loved the descriptions of Core General, the hospital, and how it was designed for a wide range of environmental and gravitational needs, along with the varying sizes of the systers. I also liked the descriptions of the specific systers that had a role in the story, even if it was brief. This is written in first person, so we’re in the head of Jens, and she will occasionally go on a small tangent to explain some things, maybe philosophize about the situation, things like that. For most of the book, it’s fine and I think it actually helps us understand the world better and be more engaged with the story. Towards the end, it gets a little overly complicated and I didn’t think it was completely necessary. There’s also casual queer rep, some characters use they pronouns, and it’s standard for the hospital staff to have tags that have names, species, and pronouns. Some species prefer to be referred to as “it” and it seems that it’s typically the bug species. There’s a LOT that happened in this story that I’m not even mentioning, but I did really enjoy this and would definitely recommend if you want to read something sci-fi that’s also a mystery.

Bestiary by K-Ming Chang. This story follows a family of Taiwanese- and Chinese-Americans, focusing on the women: Mother, Daughter, and Grandmother. Daughter is telling us the history of her family to the best of her ability, translating from letters written by her grandmother, relaying stories that her mother told her. Shortly after being told a story about Hu Gu Po, a tiger spirit living in a woman, she wakes up with a tail. That’s not even the strangest thing that happens throughout this book. There are backyard holes that breathe, fish-daughters, a golden cage with a shadow of a bird in it but no visible bird, and she’s falling for a neighborhood girl that has her own strangeness. This was extremely interesting to read because of the writing style, which reminded me quite a bit of Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater and Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties. Chang’s writing bends reality, uses words normally associated with the human body to describe nature and makes it possible for a human to get pregnant by a river or grow a tiger tail. It’s very poetic at times, which the author has background in. The author said that she’d sometimes class this as “speculative history” and I can see that! I’d definitely put this into the fabulism category as well, plenty of the things that happen in this book fall into that. This is a generational story, exploring how different generations experience the world, pass on their stories and their trauma. There are many folktales in this, and they’re all based on Taiwanese, Chinese, or Fujianese folktales. The author says that they can all be found in text form online, but because they’re often from an oral tradition, there might be many different versions. There isn’t exactly a plot to this, but that is not a bad thing at all! It feels like an epic being told to us, rather than something that’s written down in a book to start with. It touches on domestic violence, poverty, racism. It also has bright moments of queer love between Daughter and the neighborhood girl, and this love is simply accepted by those around them. Queer love even stays in their family myths, with a man falling for a pirate, Grandmother experiencing some love for a woman. I really enjoyed reading Chang’s writing and look forward to reading more of her work.

The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher. Kara is going through a divorce, and she absolutely *cannot* bear to be around her mother for very long, so instead, she goes to stay with her eccentric uncle at his Wonder Museum. This museum is chock-full of all these odd things – a ton of dried cane toads, taxidermy taking up a lot of space, unique carvings here and there. Kara grew up in this museum, so none of it bothers her while she helps her uncle out for a while. Uncle Earl has to go into surgery for a while, so Kara takes over with some support from Simon, the quirky gay barista that works at and lives above the coffee shop next door. The first day, they discover there’s a hole in the wall that they assume a tourist carelessly broke and ran off. But when they take a closer look at the hallway through the hole, they realize that the proportions are impossible. They explore some and discover it leads to some strange world filled with willows and quiet islands dotting foggy water. *dun dun dunnnn* Normally, I’d tell you a bit more about this, but that was kind of all I knew, and let me tell you, that’s the best way. This is a horror story after all, but if you desperately want to know more details, I’d be happy to tell you more! This is the first I’ve read from T. Kingfisher, and I definitely would love to read more from this author! I really loved the writing in this, it was beautiful and sufficiently creepy when needed. The humor woven throughout, both regular and gallows humor, was fantastic. I really appreciated that the main characters, Kara and Simon, were very relatable, and they didn’t suddenly have some special ability or were already completely competent. They were just regular people, trying to figure this out, understand space-time physics, other dimensions, and all this science stuff that they’re definitely not qualified for. If you like horror that has some humor thrown in, this is for you!

That’s all of the books I read in September! I hope you found something new that you want to read, enjoy the spooky season. Bye.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Commander in Chief – Demi Lovato | ASL

No blog post, because this is an ASL translation of a song. Full lyrics are below.

Commander in Chief – Demi Lovato (Lyrics)

Were you ever taught when you were young
If you mess with things selfishly, they’re bound to come undone?
I’m not the only one
That’s been affected and resented every story you’ve spun, and I’m a lucky one

‘Cause there are people worse off that have suffered enough
Haven’t they suffered enough?
But you can’t get enough of shutting down systems for personal gain
Fighting fires with flyers and praying for rain
Do you get off on pain?
We’re not pawns in your game

Commander in Chief, honestly
If I did the things you do, I couldn’t sleep
Seriously, do you even know the truth?
We’re in a state of crisis, people are dying
While you line your pockets deep
Commander in Chief
How does it feel to still be able to breathe?

We were taught when we were young
If we fight for what’s right, there won’t be justice for just some
Won’t give up, stand our ground
We’ll be in the streets while you’re bunkering down
Loud and proud, best believe
We’ll still take a knee while you’re…

Commander in Chief, honestly
If I did the things you do, I couldn’t sleep
Seriously, do you even know the truth?
We’re in a state of crisis, people are dying
While you line your pockets deep
Commander in Chief
How does it feel to still be able to breathe?

Breathe
Be able to breathe

Won’t give up, stand our ground
We’ll be in the streets while you’re bunkering down
Won’t give up, stand our ground
We’ll be in the streets while you’re…

Commander in Chief, honestly
If I did the things you do, I couldn’t sleep
Seriously, do you even know the truth?
We’re in a state of crisis, people are dying
While you line your pockets deep
Commander in Chief
How does it feel to still be able to breathe?
Able to breathe

Deaf Interpreters | Deaf Awareness Month

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. Today I’ll be talking about Deaf interpreters and why they’re a thing, what we do, and situations you’ll find us in. I am a Deaf Interpreter personally, and I specialize in DeafBlind interpreting. Today’s video will be a broad overview of deaf interpreting, I might make a separate video for specializations in this field.

First, what are Deaf interpreters and why do we exist? This term is *not* for interpreters who work with deaf people. It literally means interpreters who are also deaf. If you want to talk about interpreters who work with deaf people, call them ASL interpreters, or if you want to be even more specific, ASL-English interpreters. Deaf interpreters are deaf people who often work in a team with a hearing interpreter. DIs should already have done the required interpreter training, and there is certification that’s not currently available, so many are stuck working without it. They should be fluent in ASL, have in-depth knowledge of the Deaf community and culture. Deaf interpreters work in situations where the hearing interpreter may not have the necessary skills or extralinguistic knowledge to effectively interpret for the deaf consumer. Deaf interpreters tend to have more specialized training and experience in using other methods of communication that are not ASL. We exist because we have lived experience that hearing interpreters will never have, and we already have the skill of adjusting and matching wildly varying communication needs. Hearing interpreters do go through rigorous training, going to college, multiple tests, and so on, but all of that is done in a structured environment where the ASL is standardized and somewhat more formal. This is not a bad thing! You have to learn all of the rules and structure of a language before you can know what rules you can break and when. In a way, Deaf interpreters help bridge that gap between structured/formal ASL and everyday use. As hearing interpreters gain experience, they are more able to handle that gap, but there are some things that they just won’t be able to do without Deaf interpreters. And Deaf interpreters would not be able to do our jobs without hearing interpreters.

Here’s some situations that can go more smoothly with Deaf interpreters. A person who had delay in learning language, so they have unconventional language that a hearing interpreter might struggle to understand. This is a situation that happens very often in the deaf community, and Deaf interpreters often have experience chatting with people like this. Working in K-12 with deaf children who may or may not have language. You know how children sometimes are just impossible to understand or they are saying words, but it’s not “normal” English? That happens with deaf kids, so it can be very difficult to understand, even for Deaf interpreters! Like I said earlier, hearing interpreters learn in a very structured environment. So they’re often not prepared to work with deaf consumers who have additional disabilities, which might be physical, such as cerebral palsy, wheelchair users, having one hand or a different number of fingers, and many more. That might be mental, such as Downs Syndrome (which is also physical), autism, or others that would affect how they communicate. Another situation that Deaf interpreters would be used in is if the deaf consumer is from another country or uses a different language that is not ASL. We often can figure out a way of communicating if they don’t know ASL.

One more thing that I didn’t mention is DeafBlind consumers. They fall into many of the categories I’ve already mentioned. DeafBlind people are just as varied as Deaf people are in communication preferences, access to language, and so on. Some might use only a speaking interpreter, some use tactile ASL which means ASL as usual but with their hands on yours, and some use protactile language. Notice I didn’t say ASL for the last one. That’s because it’s a distinct language of its own, all touch-based. I’m not going to go in-depth about that here, but I just wanted to emphasize that.

There are *so* many different situations where the deaf consumer will benefit from having a deaf-hearing interpreter team. Every time I’ve worked with hearing interpreters, without fail, they say they appreciate having me there because of certain situations that came up that they wouldn’t have known what to do. I appreciate having them there as well, because I wouldn’t be able to do my job! I just wanted to give you a broad look at Deaf interpreters today, so I’m sure there are some things I’ve missed. I’ll either add it in a pinned comment or put it in a future video. If there’s anything that I said in this video that isn’t right, please let me know! I hope you learned something new today!

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

August Books Wrap Up | BookTube

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to my wrap up for August. I know, I know, it’s very late and definitely not at all related to Deaf Awareness, but I have to get this out at some point so might as well now. I’ll just get right into it.

First up is No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America by Darnell L. Moore. This is a very eloquent memoir about his upbringing in Camden, NJ as a Black boy in the 70’s to his life today as a Black queer man. Moore talks about his journey of discovering his sexuality while being bullied for seeming gay, living in a home that had domestic violence, parents who had him at a very young age. Moore is so open and honest about his life, it’s very impactful. While he tells us about his personal history, he also tells us about the history of Camden, how it’s been downtrodden but continues to survive, much like himself. He hid his sexuality behind a mask of religiosity at the same time yearning for love and affection from another man. He was unable to accept himself for a long time because of repressing his sexuality and because of society telling him he should hate his black skin. He tells us how he worked through all this internalized hate and came to accept and love himself. Nowadays, he works as an activist, most recently in Black Lives Matter. This memoir was amazing, and I easily gave it five stars. It’s incredibly open and vulnerable, and the prose can be a little wordy at times, but that didn’t bother me too much.

Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee. Gyen Jebi is an artist at their core, and they just want to do their art in peace, which is difficult with the country being occupied by colonizers. They audition for a job, and don’t get it, but they get drafted by the Ministry of Armor to do a specific job. Jebi is tasked with painting the mystical glyphs that activate the automata army of the colonizers. They get sucked into political complexity after discovering how the mystical pigments are created. Jebi has never had any interest, knows absolutely nothing about politics, but decides to do something with the military’s biggest automaton which happens to be a dragon. Adri of perpetualpages (YouTube) puts it this way – “this story has a soft enby protagonist who’s basically a magical coder. And that’s badass.” I couldn’t agree more! I thoroughly enjoyed this read. Yoon Ha Lee is an incredible author, and I will always read their work. Now about the book. I did get annoyed with Jebi for their complete cluelessness about everything going on in their country, but it’s realistic. There *are* people who know absolutely nothing beyond their little bubble, which Jebi had because of their sister enabling it. Jebi is ordinary, they’re not a prodigy or especially competent. Jebi just is, which is rare to see in fantasy, so it was very interesting to see here. There’s so many great things I could talk about for this, but I’ll keep it to two main things: Arazi, the dragon, and the queer rep. I really enjoyed Lee’s portrayal of the dragon, because Arazi is just coming into consciousness, so it’s discovering all these new things, and Jebi is experiencing that all over again. I absolutely loved how Lee casually includes all of the queer rep, without making a big deal out of it. The “worst” it got was the opinion of the colonizers, which is it’s odd, but who cares. There’s same-gender love, genderfluidity, polyam families, and more. I appreciated that Lee made a point of not using gender if it wasn’t known. Lee would instead use descriptors of their appearance or the sound of their voice, not taking the easy way by assigning man/woman. Even the sex scene was carefully written with gender in mind. Overall, I would absolutely recommend this read.

Next is a book I buddy read with Kathy, You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson. In one sentence: a queer prom rom-com that’s just perfect. Liz Lighty lives in a small midwestern town that’s completely obsessed with prom. So obsessed to the point where it’s treated like a sport in this town. The people who win the crown also win a scholarship, which Liz needs because her financial aid to her dream school fell through. Liz has always felt like she was too Black, poor, and awkward for this town but she has to change that if she has any hope of winning prom and that money. She tries to conform to what’s expected of her, but realizes that the game is rigged against her anyway, so she might as well play on her own terms. I loved this. That’s it. This is a wonderful story about a Black bisexual girl navigating her life and learning how much she deserves, finding her confidence in who she is, and realizing that she really isn’t alone. I don’t want to say too much because this was just wonderful and what I just said was pretty much all I knew going into it. I definitely think that’s the best way to read this. I will warn you though, there is some homophobia, racism, bullying, being outed, and depictions of panic attacks. I really enjoyed this story, and would definitely recommend.

After that, I read a library book, Sword in the Stars by Amy Rose Capetta. This is the second book in the Once & Future duology, so I can’t tell you too much. This duology is basically an inclusive, genderbent Arthurian retelling set far, far in the future where Arthur is a queer girl fighting against a big corporation that’s basically taken over the universe. The second book takes us into the past to the original Arthur story, and explores how twisty and wibbly wobbly time travel can be. If you enjoyed the first book, you’ll likely enjoy this too!

Next was a very quick and cute graphic novel, A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer and Trans Identities by Mady G. And JR Zuckerberg. This is a guide through the basics of queer terms and identities, coming out, navigating relationships, and the whole spectrum of experiences. It might sound odd, but this book uses snails and these imaginary creatures called Sproutlings to tell the story and help explain the identities, so this can be a great way to work with kids and help them figure out how to explain things. This has a companion of sorts, A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns, which I also recommend!

I read another graphic novel, but this is definitely the opposite of the previous one! Midnighter and Apollo by Steve Orlando and Fernando Blanco. If you don’t like blood and gore, this is definitely *not* for you. Midnighter and Apollo are heroes who founded a super group, and have been linked together for a long time both professionally and romantically. In this, they’re torn apart by a villain and Apollo is sent to the underworld. Midnighter fights his way to hell and back—literally—for his lover. These two characters have their own roles in other novels, and I haven’t read those, so I think that you can safely read this as a standalone. I enjoyed their relationship and their banter when they were together, and I really enjoyed getting to see queer supers on the page, we need more of that. Just a FYI for anyone who’s interested, there’s a fairly new subreddit for this – r/lgbt_superheroes.

Then to end this month, I binge-read the rest of The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and a *lot* of illustrators. I read from from Volume 3 all the way to the end. My library had ebooks of the deluxe editions, so it made it easy for me to binge read a lot! Obviously, I can’t say too much, but hoo boy! It gets very interesting! The basic premise is that there are twelve gods reborn every ninety years, live for only two years, are loved and hated, and they’re all dead by the end of those two years. There is so much more happening behind that premise, but I really enjoyed being surprised by all of the twists and turns that this story took, so I won’t say more than that.

And that’s it for August! My September wrap up will be up soon, so there’ll be more books, like always. Let me know what you’ve been enjoying lately, whether that’s books, movies, TV shows, or anything else!

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

ASL translations of songs | Deaf Awareness Month

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. As you can see from the title, I’ll be talking about translating songs into ASL today. I was already planning on making this video, but it’s even more appropriate with the recent events. I’m not going to say names because this can actually apply to more than just one particular person. I have talked about this before, with Jules Dameron. I’ll link that video, but it’s always good to make a new video because unfortunately, it’s a thing that keeps happening.

What keeps happening is hearing people – often ASL students or people who are learning ASL on their own – create what they call ASL music covers and get a lot of attention and praise for it. There’s several problems with this.

First, ASL is usually not their native language. So they’re taking attention away from deaf creators who are doing the same with what’s their native language. For comparison: if you were someone who’d been taking Norwegian for two years, and suddenly wanted to do a translation cover of your favorite English song into Norwegian. Would you do it? Or at least, make it public? Probably not, and you know why. You know you’re not fluent enough to be able to make a culturally appropriate translation. So why do people think it’s okay to do with sign languages? They are real languages, just visual rather than auditory. *sigh* I get it, I do. Sign and music can go together really well. Still doesn’t give them the right to do translations.

Second, these people usually are not…good at signing. They’re often people who have been learning for only a couple of years, and are nowhere near fluency. So it’s frustrating when people get attention for doing this when they’re not good at all. Unfortunately, I’ve seen it too often done as a way to get clout, or bump up their social media following. That’s not cool. Hearing people often go viral doing this, despite deaf people saying they’re not good. And even when they’re shown videos of deaf people doing it that’s clearly better, the hearing people still get more attention. [pause] The next thing I’m going to say may be a bit controversial. I actually don’t have a problem with ASL students doing this. BUT. As practice only. Doing song translations is actually a great way for ASL students with aspirations of becoming an interpreter to practice getting into the right headspace. You *have* to show emotion with songs, so this can be a good way for them to practice this along with understanding the meaning behind words rather than just signing word for word. I’m fine if they post it and clearly label it as a practice in the title or something. I just want the ASL students to be clear from the start that they shouldn’t be seen as fluent ASL signers.

Third, some, quite frankly, unethical people will use this as a way to make money. Sometimes by using those covers to guide people to their “ASL lessons.” Hearing people should absolutely not be making a profit off of our language, it’s not their native language. They shouldn’t be getting so much attention for something that is often done poorly or not at all what a deaf person would have done. Especially when there are deaf people who have been doing this for far longer and much better. A lot of these “teachers” have actually taken only a few years of ASL, most likely have no degree in either ASL or teaching, and chances are high that they have very little interaction with the larger deaf community. There *are* people who might be completely ignorant about this and the ethics, absolutely. But it’s a problem when these people completely ignore deaf people trying to tell them that what they’re doing isn’t acceptable and keep doing it. Some people have continued to create these videos, continued to teach bad ASL, all the while blocking any deaf people that disagree with them, are telling them to stop, and taking advantage of it for their own gain.

I could go on all day about this, but I don’t want to use that much more energy on this, because deaf people already have for a long time. We are tired of it. We keep going because we care about our language, our culture, our community, but it’s exhausting being the only ones speaking up about it. Hearing people need to question things, not take them at face value, and say something if it’s not acceptable. This includes interpreters too, you know that this isn’t an acceptable behavior. *takes a deep breath* I’m done for today. I’ll be leaving a link to a playlist made by Jules of ASL versions of songs that are actually good. Watch those and enjoy! Bye.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Making your media accessible | Deaf Awareness Month

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. Today, this is kind of based on a comment I had on my first video for this month. I want to talk about how you should be making your content—whether that’s videos, pictures, art, etc.—as accessible to everyone as you can. It is challenging, and certainly not one-size-fits-all. I’ll be talking about accessibility for deaf people and blind people, plus that intersection, DeafBlind.

First, let’s do the obvious one: captions. This is something we deaf people have been harping on about *forever* so this should be no surprise. Obviously, caption your videos on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Unfortunately, Instagram does not yet have a built-in captioning tool, so that requires a different process. That’s the obvious. But I would add: caption your TikToks. Caption your Instagram Reels. Caption your Instagram Stories. Caption. Every. Thing. If you speak, caption it. And personally, I think this applies to EVERYONE, including deaf people. Yes, I know. Hearing people leave us out all the time, so why shouldn’t we leave THEM out. But you forget that there are deaf people who don’t know sign. Those who are still learning and can’t use your videos to help them learn. THAT is not fair to them. If we deaf people also refuse to do captions, why would that encourage hearing people to do captions themselves? *gives a look* Caption. Captions aren’t just giving access to deaf people, which is probably the primary reason, yes. But people who have other disabilities, English isn’t their primary language, and many other things, benefit from captions. Even native English speakers benefit from them if they need to have the sound muted, miss something that was said, or can’t understand because of mumbling, an accent, or any other sound issues. Captions benefit a much bigger segment of the population than people think.

The next thing I want to talk about is transcripts. This is basically just everything you say but typed up in a doc. THIS DOES NOT REPLACE CAPTIONS. It should be provided in addition to captions. Transcripts typically will have just what’s being said, and who’s saying it, but that’s it. You can add some info at the beginning, like a short description of the people who are in the video. Who are transcripts for? Everyone actually benefits from these too. They’re often for blind users who might not want to listen to a video, or DeafBlind users who can’t hear, wouldn’t be able to access the captions and would read instead. Sometimes, they might be able to see the video, but it’s easier for them to read the black and white text. That could be because the lighting in the video is poor, the background is busy, the shirt on the person is distracting or not solid enough to be able to see signs. There are a lot of reasons why someone would prefer a transcript over watching a video. For sighted and hearing people, we can benefit from them too! If we want to quote a specific line, or search for something we saw while watching the video, we can just use the find function instead of re-watching the video. I do that sometimes with my own videos. I don’t do *transcripts* but I do blog posts, which act as transcripts, but formatted as a post rather than a big text block, with pictures included if it’s fitting, such as my book wrap ups. That leads into the next thing.

This is more specific to blind people in general. Whenever you post pictures, they should come with image descriptions. These generally describe what’s in the image. It doesn’t have to be every little detail, but enough that people understand what’s in the picture. Generally of whatever’s the focus in the picture with broad strokes for the surroundings. I’ve been doing image descriptions on my pictures for years, it’s become habit by now. It’s not a very difficult thing to do, just one small extra step before posting something. You might sometimes see video descriptions, but those are generally used to describe broadly what a video looks like, and used in conjunction with transcripts. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll notice that I put them directly in the caption. There’s a reason for this. Instagram does have a setting where you can add alt text to an image, which works…for very specific purposes. You’re able to access that ID only if you have a screen reader or the equivalent. Hearing blind people are able to use accessibility features on Apple, or a lot of other options that will read things out loud. DeafBlind people have more limited options, and often have only the option of a Braille screen reader. Many DeafBlind people don’t have one, because it can be really expensive, so they’re not able to access the information in the alt text. Also, from my understanding, accessibility tech isn’t always the best when it comes to Braille and converting data. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was largely because the focus is put on audio-based things. So that’s why I always put my IDs directly in the caption, and that’s why you’ll see many deaf organizations starting to do the same.

I’m just going to throw this out, even though it’s not something I do for fairly obvious reasons. Doing voiceovers and audio descriptions when possible is good. When I say voiceover, I’m specifically talking about voicing over for signing. I’d say this would be something I’d encourage organizations to do rather than individuals because it can be a lot of additional work for one person to do. Voiceovers and audio descriptions provide access in another way for those who rely on hearing or that in combination with other things. Audio descriptions are similar to image descriptions, they describe what’s happening in the video and what it looks like. I’m not going in-depth about this because it’s not my area of expertise. If this is something you need or are considering doing, Google is your bestie!

What I’ve said in this video so far is just the start. It might take time and practice to become comfortable doing all of this, but it’s worth it to make all of your content accessible to as many people as possible. It’s okay to make mistakes, at least you’ll be trying! It’s better to do that than not and end up not giving access at all. Let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll be happy to answer them to the best of my ability. That’s all for today, bye.

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Fingerspelling – proper nouns and English | ASL Ponderings & Deaf Awareness Month

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome. It’s been a while since I did an ASL Ponderings, so let’s do one today! I guess you could call this part three, because I have talked about fingerspelling a little bit before, and I have one video I’ve been wanting to make but I want to make sure to do proper research for that one. Today, I’m going to talk about the purpose of fingerspelling, and some myths people have been told about it. A quick disclaimer before I get into it – I am not saying I’m against fingerspelling, or that it’s bad, or anything. It is useful! I’m just giving a different perspective on this.

A lot of people like to call fingerspelling ASL, so much to the point where deaf people are used to having hearing people say oh, oh! I know ASL! Then proceed to fingerspell the ABCs. [zoom in] First, no. Second, absolutely not. In all seriousness, you can’t claim to know ASL when you only know the ABCs. That’s like saying you know Japanese, but you actually only know the hiragana, their phonetic writing system, and no actual words. Fingerspelling is also not technically sign language. It’s a way of coding English into a visual form, similar to Japanese katakana which is their system for transcribing foreign-language words or writing loan words. So really, whenever we fingerspell, we’re borrowing words from English. I think there’s nothing wrong with that, languages borrow words from others all the time. If you’re involved with the deaf community, you probably are aware that there’s been a fairly recent massive push for removing initialized signs, that’s signs that use letters rather than a non-letter handshape, and English words from ASL. People mostly of my generation have been borrowing signs from other countries, or picking up on a regional sign and spreading it outside of its original region. And I think that’s fantastic! That’s how language works. It’s a living, breathing thing. Unfortunately, and of course, there are those who are screaming that ASL is being ruined, it needs to be preserved, which is kind of ridiculous. If you look at what was considered ASL a hundred years ago, it looks different and it’s very much influenced by English, more so than today. Getting back to the point, fingerspelling is very much a code for converting spoken/written languages into a visual language for immediate communication.

With that in mind, let’s talk about what people are generally taught to do in regard to fingerspelling. In one of my previous videos, I touched on this. People are often taught to hold a finger on their wrist every time they spell a word, always. Well… That’s generally used for formal ASL, to be used on stage, doing a presentation, reporting news, or things like that. Sometimes you’d use it for emphasis in everyday conversation, but rarely. It’s really not necessary and usually not used in everyday language.

One of the biggest things that’s emphasized SO much in a lot of ASL classes, or at least what I know of in my experience, is proper nouns. Teachers often tell their students that you MUST spell all proper nouns. Before I go into that and why in my view it’s inaccurate, let’s review what proper nouns are. Generally, they’re the name of a person, a place, an organization, countries, brands, and titles of various works like books, movies, art, and so on. With that review, let’s talk. First, I have talked about this with some people so this isn’t coming from just me. I suspect this is partially a holdover from the Rochester Method. The Rochester Method was when deaf children were educated using a mixture of oral language and fingerspelling, no signing allowed. [fingerspelling] So it would basically look like this, which no thank you. [ASL] You can see why barely anyone uses it today, it’s… A lot. Anyway. Proper nouns. For some reason, ASL students are taught to spell every single proper noun. I personally don’t know a single fluent ASL and deaf signer that would prefer you to spell out proper nouns. I mean, we come up with signs for brand names all the time. We have signs for countries, states, and cities. We create sign names for people. We will sign the title of movies, books, and so on if we’re able. If it happens to have a word that doesn’t have a sign equivalent, we’ll spell it out. Or if someone asks for clarification on the exact title, sure, spell it out. It just kind of bothers me that I see so many people being told that it’s a MUST to fingerspell proper nouns, when deaf people themselves almost never follow that rule. This applies to quite a few other things that are taught in ASL classes as well, why are they still teaching things that deaf people don’t do?

I’m not sure what else to say for this video, so I’m going to end here. If anything else comes to mind, I’ll add it below this. Let me know what your thoughts are on this!

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Deaf Awareness Month 2020

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome! September is here again, and that means it’s Deaf Awareness Month. This is a month where we put focus on promoting more awareness about different aspects of the deaf community. It might be general, it might be more specific about our culture, sign language, issues that impact our community, and so on. I just wanted to do a quick intro to this month, and give you a little preview of what I would *like* to do this month. I want to talk about various media created by deaf people *for* deaf people, maybe spotlight some deaf-owned businesses, and possibly teach some less-known deaf history. I also want to do an ASL Ponderings about fingerspelling, and song translations, how I feel about them. I’ll close out the month with some videos for the International Week of the Deaf, plus International Day of the Deaf. I’d love to know if you have any topics related to the deaf community that you want to know more about or just want to see me talk about. That’s all for today, I look forward to this month. Bye!

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

June & July Books Wrap Up | BookTube

I am *very* aware that this is a looooong video, so I will completely understand if you skip watching it! FYI, I’ve added timecodes in the video description so you can skip to particular books if you want! 😊

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to the wrap up of books I read in both June and July. I’m going to just get right into it.

In the first week of June, we had the Queer Lit Readathon, and I read six books for that. I’ll link the wrap up for that, and the books I read are: Cyborg Detective, Bingo Love, This Is What It Feels Like, Wicked As You Wish, Running With Lions, and Winning Marriage. All of the books I read this month were black, queer, or both. It just so happened that several of my picks for the readathon were both!

After the readathon, I read only three books. In part because I wasn’t very motivated to, and in part because I was reading a *lot* of other things, such as articles, posts on Twitter and Instagram, and so on about all of the protests and such. This is still an important topic, and I will be leaving a few links of organizations you can support and resources.

The first book I read after the readathon was The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin. I was so happy when my library request came in for this, because the timing was really good! Okay. We have no choice but to love Jemisin, everything I’ve read of hers I have loved. In this book, cities have souls. Some are ancient and mythical, and some are young and boisterous like children. New York City, though, doesn’t have just one soul. She has six, and the five boroughs must work together to save the sixth, who is the representation of New York as a whole. They must save him from the Enemy, who is determined to snuff out any city that dares put its weight on the universe. Honestly, so much goes on in this story, I kind of don’t want to tell you any more than that. If you’ve ever read any of NK Jemisin’s work, you’ll most likely love this as well. It’s almost a blend of fantasy and science fiction. The boroughs are represented by people who are the most true representation of the borough they’re from. The Bronx is a queer Lenape director of an art center, Brooklyn is a former rap star become city councilwoman, Queens is an immigrant Tamil mathematician here on a visa, Manhattan is a multiracial grad student with a missing past, Staten Island is a sheltered Irish-American daughter of an abusive cop, and New York is a young, skinny, queer Black boy living on the streets. The way New York City is described in this book, both the real city and the boroughs when seen in the other dimension, is just gorgeous. This is definitely a love letter to NYC, and Jemisin says that it’s her homage to the city. I have never been to NYC, so I can’t speak to that, but I felt like I really got a feel for the city from it. This really is in your face about racism, sexism, homophobia, and fighting against that. I can’t recommend this more. I’ll leave a link to Adri’s more in-depth review of this if you want to know more about the story.

Next, I read Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams. After a messy break up from her white boyfriend, 25-year-old Jamaican British Queenie is dealing with the aftermath. While working at a national newspaper, she’s also finding comfort in all the wrong places. Meeting up with men who are the worst people to affirm her self-worth, occupying her time when she really should be focusing on work. She keeps making questionable decision after decision, frustrating her friends and making it difficult for them to keep supporting her through a tough time. This book does a lot, and I’m a little mixed on it. On one hand, I enjoyed the British humor and most of her friends and their relationships. That was one of my favorite parts of the book, in how it was done and their banter. On the other, Queenie’s attitude and decisions kind of grated on me. I understand that she has a lot of mental health struggles and trauma, but I’m not sure that completely explains all of her choices. But again, the author never makes it seem like it’s a good thing. It’s very clear that she’s just dealing with her anxiety the only way she thinks she can. This book really goes to dark places, with the unprotected sex with multiple men, severe anxiety, racism from several fronts, cultural stigma of therapy, and a lot more. So I want to be clear that even though this book is often pitched as a comedy or similar to Bridget Jones which I haven’t seen, it is not. Yes, there’s moments of humor here and there, but as a whole, I would not call it a comedy. Immediately after reading, it was a 4 star because I read it very quickly in a couple of sittings. But after letting it process, I knocked off one star because unfortunately, there are quite a lot of Black woman stereotypes in this. I also felt there was a way to write this so that it touches on all of these hard topics, without relying on stereotypes, and all of the really, really poor decision making. There was a lot of kind of glancing at racism, but not really exploring it further. Anyway, I’ve said enough as a white person. I looked at Goodreads reviews, specifically those from Black women, and some are not here for it. But there are also some who loved it, and really related to it. So take that how you will. Would I recommend this? Maybe. Just go into this keeping what I said in mind.

The last book in June I read was How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. He talks about the concept of antiracism and how he defines it, asking us to think about what an antiracist society would look like, what our role would be in it. Kendi brings together history, ethics, law, and science along with his personal journey as a Black man awakening to antiracism. I…have really mixed feelings about this book. I appreciate what Kendi is trying to do, and I did learn quite a bit of history from this that I didn’t know about. Kendi argues that you are either racist or antiracist – there’s no real in-between, if you’re passively non-racist, you perpetuate racism by allowing it to continue. He applies this concept to several things throughout the book. However. This book is clearly written for white people. Which is kind of the point, but there it is. Some of the things he discusses are things that have already been talked about and already have terms for them, but he coins his own words. He says that Black people can be racist, which… No, there’s a different term for that. Kendi barely touches on queerness, but when he does, he uses Black queer women for his own learning, reflection on his own “racist,” homophobic, and sexist behavior. He uses stereotypes about Black women, reinforcing those negative stereotypes. I felt queasy reading those parts of the book, and couldn’t explain why until I saw a Twitter thread talking about the harms enabled by this book—which I used just now—and I strongly recommend you read the thread. I also couldn’t figure out what this book was trying to be – a memoir, self-help, textbook, storytelling? All of that? *shrugs* I think I’m going to just end here, and let you decide if you want to read this for yourself.

Now for the July books! First up is an ARC that’s now out, Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall. Luc O’Donnell is semi-famous—not by choice. Both of his parents are former rock stars, his father hasn’t been in his life at all since he was little. Luc has been appearing in tabloids and the such, which isn’t much of an issue… Until donors to the charity he works at start to pull out their money because of his “gay lifestyle,” and Luc has to fix his image or lose his job. Desperate, he turns to his friends and ends up making a decision he doesn’t particularly like. He goes on a date with Oliver Blackwood, who is the perfect person to buff Luc’s image. They don’t like each other, but agree to fake date for a while since they both need one for a big event. Of course, the line between fake and real starts to blur, and there’s FEELINGS! I LOVED THIS! I’ve seen quite a few people compare this to Red, White & Royal Blue, and I can see why, but I feel like they’re also completely different. To start, in BM only one of them is famous, and semi-famous at that, while in RWRB, they’re both world-famous. (Note: This is something I didn’t say in the video, but wanted to include here – To use Hank Green’s tiers of fame, Luc is tier 2, Notoriety, and Oliver isn’t even in the tiers. For both of the boys in RWRB, they’re tier 4, True Fame.) Also, I wonder if people are making this connection a lot because this is set in England? Moving on, I just said it’s set in England. With that, this book has a TON of British humor, and I laughed and smiled a lot while reading this! I actually read this in one sitting, and was up until around 4AM to finish it, I was enjoying it that much. Now, I don’t want to mislead you and make you think this is all sappy and happy, because it’s not. That’s another difference between this and RWRB. Both of the men in BM have a lot of emotional baggage, and Luc is pretty messed up for various reasons. He constantly puts his foot in his mouth, is a little self-destructive, and very snarky as a defense mechanism. Buuuuut! This book is SO good with all of the layers, having growth for both of them, showing them learning how to work through things rather than just giving up. Luc learns how to manage his destructive behaviors, and becomes a better person for it while still acknowledging he’ll probably still mess up. I really appreciated how fleshed out the supporting characters were. I could see their personalities, and they didn’t feel like they were filler just for Luc and Oliver to exist. There are several queer supporting characters, and one of them is a Muslim woman. Last thing, the pacing. Mostly, it’s good! But sometimes it felt like it was dragging on sliiiightly too long, a few paragraphs weren’t really necessary, and I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending. It’s very open-ended, so if that bothers you, well. I don’t know what to tell you. Overall, I seriously *loved* this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a queer fake-to-love dating trope, especially because this one has its own little twist on it.

Another ARC that released at the end of June, Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory. Olivia Monroe just moved to LA to start her own law firm with a good friend of hers, and anything but work is far from her mind, especially dating. While in transition at a hotel, she strikes up a conversation with a gorgeous man at the hotel’s bar, and they flirt the whole night. Only after separating for the night does she discover that the man is none other than junior senator of California, Max Powell. A while later, she gets a cake delivered to her law office, and while she doesn’t really want to date a politician, she can’t just outright say no to that. They go on a few dates, keeping everything secret due to Max’s high-profile job. Olivia is happy to learn that Max is not at all like the privileged white politician she imagined him to be. They find their rhythm and after a while, they agree to go public. They try to prepare for the spotlight that comes with it, but Olivia gets a lot of not quite desirable attention. She has to decide if it’s worth it for Max, or if she can’t handle the heat. This is the second Guillory book I’ve read, the first being The Wedding Date. They’re all interconnected, but can stand alone, which I appreciate. The characters are well-developed, and I really appreciate that Guillory seems to have a habit of writing them like real adults that communicate their feelings and work at relationships. The romances don’t feel like they’re some fantasy ideal, where everything is perfect and nothing is hard. Especially in this one, they have to have these conversations due to Max’s job. I liked that Olivia is very much her own person with ideas and goals, and doesn’t give that up just to go after Max. I would’ve loved to see more of her side though, looking at when the book talks about their jobs. It was a little more detailed on Max’s side, and I would have liked to see more of the clients and jobs that Olivia takes on. These characters are so easy to like, and you’ll speed through this, no problem. If it wasn’t clear, Olivia is Black and I did mention that Max is white. They have some conversations about race and how that can play into their interactions, but I felt like it came up only for causing problems. The climax or the breaking point was a little sudden, there wasn’t any–or maybe enough–foreshadowing or little things being built in to have that point make sense. It would’ve been good to see a bit more of that woven in the story. Sometimes, the domestic side of things got a little repetitive, and I didn’t feel that was necessary to have. Since they’re seeing each other so little, I would’ve liked to see more variety in what they did while together. But that was pretty minor, and I very much enjoyed this. Good warning: there is so. much. food. Beautiful and plentiful descriptions of food is a thing in the Guillory books that I’ve read, so be aware of that! All in all, I enjoyed this and would recommend it if you’ve read any of her other books and liked them. Even if you haven’t, if you like romance that isn’t completely unrealistic, this is a good one.

Then I finally finished a book I intended to finish for a video, but that got dropped so I took my time. The book is Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality by Debbie Cenziper and Jim Obergefell. That is a very long subtitle! If you recall, I read another book about the fight for equal marriage in June, Winning Marriage by Marc Solomon. These two books are about the same thing, but while Winning Marriage focuses on the political aspect and nation-wide, Love Wins focuses more on the people who were involved in the court cases, starting with Jim Obergefell and John Arthur who were the plaintiffs in one of the most important equal rights cases in US history. I think that sums up the book fairly well, because there’s so many details I could cover but then I’d be going on forever! I did really enjoy this much more personal look at the fight, and it’s very emotional at times. Again, if you like history, you’ll enjoy this. Just know that this is a narrative nonfiction, which I wasn’t expecting when I opened this, but it did the job.

Next was a library hold I’d had for a while, The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. This has strong introvert vibes! Forty-year-old Linus Baker works at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth as a Case Worker, making sure the children in the government orphanages are doing well and are taken care of properly. One day, he’s summoned by Extremely Upper Management and sent to Marsyas Island, where six children considered to be very dangerous live. He’s also tasked with checking on their caretaker, Arthur Parnassus, who is very enigmatic and charming. His job is to decide if this orphanage is a safe place or if these children will burn down the world. I’m not giving a lot of detail, because that’s part of the magic of this book. I LOVED this. This also crushed me. It’s a very fluffy and intense book about found family in unexpected places. It starts out seemingly dull and slow, but that’s exactly the point. Keep reading, and it will become very vivid, full of magic and love. The kind of love families have, queer love, love for all who are different. This was a library ebook, but I might just have to buy a hard copy for myself. I mean, that cover is gorgeous! And this just gave me all the feels.

A NetGalley ARC is next, How to They/Them: A Visual Guide to Nonbinary Pronouns and the World of Gender Fluidity by Stuart Getty. It gives an easy to follow guide for using they/them pronouns, like it says in the title. This book does that, but it also talks about gender expression, the freedom to identify how you want, all along with funny visuals. I want to be clear on that part, this is not a graphic novel. Images are accompanied with blocks of text. (Similar to Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele.) Getty is genderqueer and uses they/them personally. My initial rating was a three out of five stars for a few reasons, but I later changed it to a four. One was just personal, I didn’t really learn anything but then after thinking about it, I realized that’s not a fair rating because this is a subject I know well. Obviously, since I use they pronouns, so I already have this knowledge. Another was that when I finished, I was a little frustrated and disappointed because the formatting is HORRIBLE. I understand that this is an ARC, so things aren’t final yet. It’s also an ebook, and that can sometimes contribute to formatting problems, especially when there are a lot of images throughout the text. I could also tell some of the unusual formatting was intentional, which is fine! I just struggled to separate what was intentional and what wasn’t, and it was very frustrating to follow the text sometimes. I’m sure the final version will look better than the copy I read, and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is wanting to understand they/them pronouns more. I think I might be ordering a copy of the final edition so I can see for myself, and so I can share with people. While we’re still on this book, I’m going to also recommend A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson. That one is fully graphic, no blocks of text. Okay, moving on now!

The next book I read was Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. Felix Love just wants to be loved and love, and doesn’t understand why it seems so easy for everyone else. He worries that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and trans—to ever truly be happy. Felix is going to a summer program for artists, focusing in acrylics. One day, when he walks into school, he’s confronted with a gallery of pictures of him before transition along with his deadname. (Note: The deadname is never once said in this book.) Shortly after, he starts getting transphobic messages from an anonymous Instagram account. Felix quickly suspects it’s a specific person, and comes up with a plan for revenge. It doesn’t go quite the way he expected, but he also starts a journey of self-discovery that redefines how he sees himself. This is a very layered story touching on identity, love, confronting transphobia and bullying. I have to admit, I was very nervous going into this. I know there’s a lot of rave reviews and a lot of hype around this book. I am SO relieved that it’s all true. I absolutely loved all the Black queer magic that Kacen got into this book! I was nervous, because I’ve read another book of theirs that was very hyped and I ended up being VERY disappointed by it for multiple reasons. That book is This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story, which I plan to make a more in-depth review about. Hopefully soon, but we’ll see. I’m just really happy that Felix turned out to be an amazing book, and I know that Jesse from Bowties and Books LOVED this. I can’t recall which video they talked about it in, but if I figure it out, I’ll link it. You should check them out regardless, they’re pretty great! And they caption!

The final book I read in July is Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon. Jordan Collins has a passion for romance novels, and founded the Meet Cute Club, which exclusively reads romance. He worries about the club having to end, with its members slowly leaving. He also doesn’t want to deal with the new local bookstore employee, who made fun of him for reading things meant for grandmas, showing up and asking to join the club. But Jordan realizes that even if Rex Bailey is very handsome and obnoxious, he can’t say no to new members if he wants the club to survive. Jordan discovers that Rex might not actually be all that bad as they work together to save the club. I really, really enjoyed this! Sure, it’s very cheesy at times, but it also will make you feel things. It’s just a wonderful fluffy romance centered around books, what more could you want? I do wish that it was a little longer, it felt like it wrapped up too quickly. And it had a really interesting way of changing up point of view in the middle of chapters, I’m not sure how I feel about that. I was thrown the first time it happened, but after that it wasn’t too bad, because I was more aware and paying attention for the changes. I would have loved to see more interactions between Jordan and Rex outside of the club, just more of them talking. But honestly? I would absolutely recommend this for anyone who wants to read a queer romance between two book loving nerds.

At last. I am finished! If you watched all the way to the end, thank you! I hope you enjoyed this wrap up, and hopefully the next one won’t be as long. Bye!

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made a one-time donation to my Ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.