The Prince and the Dressmaker | Defacing | Vlogmas

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to Vlogmas. Today is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I follow a BookTuber, iLivieforbooks, and she will from time to time do defacings of her books. Drawing on them, decorating them, beautiful art on her books. I thought it seems like something fun to do with my books, and I’ll start with this book. Now, this book already has a scribble from a kid, because I bought this used, so… The book is The Prince and the Dressmaker. It’s one of my favorites. And here’s the kid’s scribble, I will use my defacing to cover that up.

So, for my process, because I’m one of those people who hates to start with physical because I don’t want to commit to anything. Like, what if I don’t like it? So I went ahead and took a picture of my copy’s cover, played around with it in Fresco, a drawing program. Played around with different ideas, until I found one that I liked, just today. I was drawing it, and yep I really like this. I want to do it. I’ll show you what that looks like. (Note: in the video, I hold up my iPad to show the digital version I drew.) I’m not showing you too much detail, because I want to transfer that to the physical thing. We’ll see how this goes. Enjoy!

[Montage: drawing in pencil, pulling out brush markers and selecting colors, starting with yellow-orange border around the characters then adding short curved lines in a repeating pattern, moving onto green leaves and purple flowers, and finishing with repeating straight green lines to fill in any remaining space.]

I’m done! I don’t have a lot of time because my battery’s dying and at the end of its life. So I’ll just show you a pan, and let me know what you think in the comments! I hope you enjoyed 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.

Name signs for companies | ASL Ponderings | Vlogmas

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome back to Vlogmas! Today, I’ll be talking about a question I got through email, and I thought it’d make a good video. As is obvious from the title, the question was about name signs for a company. This person had learned ASL, but it was a while back, so they were a little vague on rules around name signs. They remembered that back then, it was a rule that only people got sign names, and companies didn’t, they were to be spelled out. Also, sign names are given to the entity, not created by them. This person asked if there are name signs for companies, and if they could create one for themselves.

I made a video in September talking about proper nouns, and this falls solidly in that category. I’ll link it here. I briefly mention that we create sign names for brands all the time. I’m going to talk a little more in depth about that now.

This person is correct that generally it’s people who get sign names, but that “rule” of companies not getting sign names isn’t true today. Sign names can only be given by deaf people to whoever’s getting it, it cannot be created by the person/entity that wants a sign name. To be quite blunt, no one wants to fingerspell the name of a company every time we mention it, especially if it frequently comes up in conversation. A quick list of companies that have their own unique sign: Starbucks, McDonalds, Whole Foods, In-n-Out, Mozzeria, Google, Disney, Linguabee, Taco Bell, Amazon, and many more. (Note: watch the video at 1:37 to see these signs.)

Many companies that are abbreviations or have a name that’s easy to abbreviate such as Microsoft, MS, don’t get a unique sign name. If their name is something that already has signs, like Burger King, we just sign the literal words. Of course, there are exceptions. Deaf companies can create sign names for themselves, because they are run by deaf people. There have been some companies that worked with the deaf community to create a sign name, the best example being Glide. If you don’t know what it is, this is what came before Marco Polo, the app. They’re basically video texting apps, and have become fairly popular in the deaf community. When Glide exploded in popularity with the deaf community in around 2015 I think, they took notice and their community media manager, Sarah Snow, decided to learn sign. Over time, they built a relationship with the deaf community and put out a request for sign name ideas. They gathered up the most popular ideas, and put them up for a vote. That’s how we ended up with the current sign for Glide. *That* is the right way to do it. Amazon has a sign name created by its deaf employees, [A-backwards Z with pinky finger], which is another way to do it, having the employees come up with it. I personally don’t use it, because it’s not my favorite and I’ve already been signing it [A-Z] for most of my life. However you want to look at it, the sign name must be created by the deaf community in some capacity.

I also want to add something that I told the person in my email reply. If your company decides that they want to have a sign name, there are a few questions you have to ask first. Does the deaf community already have a way of signing your company’s name? Whether that’s literal word for word of your name or abbreviations. What’s your purpose for wanting a sign name? Is it because you want to build a relationship with the deaf community and work with them, or is it just for bonus cool points? Really think about why you want to have a sign name before you go around asking for one. 

I’ll link my previous video about sign names here so you can learn more about them. I hope you learned something from today’s video! Leave any questions you have in the comments.

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.

English Idioms in ASL #2 | Vlogmas

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to Vlogmas. I realized that in my previous videos, I signed day 5, day 7. Really, those are the dates, not the actual number of the video. So let’s just move on.

Today, I wanted to do a few more English idioms. I will link the previous video up there somewhere. In the previous video, I signed the literal wording, the ASL translation, then explained it. For this time, I will sign just ASL. The English captions are for what the idioms are. And, because this is really for those who already know ASL, I’m not going to explain in-depth. If you don’t understand why I signed it that way, go ahead and ask in the comments. Most of them, I think are pretty clear why I signed it that way. Ready?

Don’t beat around the bush.
After some reflection, he decided to bite the bullet.
Don’t jump the gun.
She seriously rubbed me the wrong way.
Well, she’s got the best of both worlds.
I let them know that their package would be delayed for one or two days, and they blew their roof.
I’ve been telling you this over and over. Get it through your thick skull.
She let things get out of hand.
The boss wasn’t happy, but she decided to let her off the hook.
That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

That’s it for today! Leave in the comments one of the following: are there any of my translations that you would do differently? Are there any future English idioms that you want to see translated to ASL? I have a list, but I want to know what you want to see. Or something else? Up to you! I know some of you might ask me about idioms in ASL. I’m working on that, it might be a future video, maybe. That’s it for today, thanks for watching!

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.

Pilot | Rogue with Rogan | Vlogmas

Note: Below is a transcript of the video along with descriptions of some clips, since it heavily depends on visuals and is somewhat in the style of a vlog.

[Rogan standing in their room, talking to the camera.]

Hello! I’m Rogan and welcome to Vlogmas day nine. Today’s video is a pilot. I actually filmed all of that in September, around Labor Day Weekend. So…a while ago. I finally edited it, and I decided to upload it for Patrons first. So they could see it and say if they liked it. Then I’d upload it for the public.

I was making and cooking stuff with a friend and we were joking around. I was looking at the recipe for cooking. I decided to make it up and change some things. My friend was joking and said that I should do a series called Rogue Cooking with Rogan, or something like that. I thought that was a good idea, and didn’t mind doing it.

I will go ahead and call this series Rogue with Rogan. Why? That means I can do it with cooking, baking, art, crafts, a variety of things. Like maybe something that has instructions, I read it, and maybe go rogue, not following them. Let me know what you think. Maybe some ideas for future Rogue with Rogan videos. You will see me signing Rogue Recipes with Rogan, that’s because I hadn’t thought of keeping it more broad. So ignore that part! Enjoy.

[Rogan standing in the kitchen, holding the camera and talking to it.]

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to Rogue Recipes with Rogan. Today, I will be making applesauce in an Instant Pot. And I will link the recipe here. You can follow along if you want, or just watch me go rogue. Okay, so… The recipe I’m using is one I’ve used before to make applesauce. The recipe is from Tastes Better From Scratch. It’s a really good recipe. But… I’ve never once actually followed this recipe. It’s really easy. Just a cup of water, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Chop up everything, get rid of the cores obviously. Pits, obviously. Throw in, leave for eight minutes, I think. [Checking the recipe.] Yep, eight minutes on high pressure, and that’s it. Really easy, fantastic, and it turns out delicious.

[Looking out of a window, Rogan pointing at two large five-gallon buckets filled with plums. A metal bowl filled with small purple plums, water running over them, shaking the bowl. Rogan’s set down the camera on the counter and starts talking again.]

Okay. So I’ve gotten all my fruit that I will be using in this. So I am definitely not following this recipe at all, because it says to use large apples. [Holds up an apple.] These aren’t large. And it uses only two kinds of apples. I am using… Two different kinds of apples, these are Chelan apples. [Holding up two red-yellow apples, one at a time, while talking at the same time.] They’re fine, but they’ve kind of…gone to the point where they may not be that good to eat directly, but they’re still good to eat. You know what I mean? And then I have these. [Holds up two other redder apples.] They’re from my apple trees. I don’t actually know what they’re called. They’re Washington apples. This one is fine, but this other one is so ripe it burst. [Holds apple close to camera, a crack is visible around the whole girth of the apple.] So… yeah, this needs to be used soon. I’m just going ahead and putting this in the apple sauce. Then we have this plum. [Holds up a large plum so dark it’s almost black.] Which is not what you saw, these. [Tapping the metal bowl from earlier.] It’s too soft to eat. WAY too soft. But it’s still good to have, so I’m cutting it and putting it in the applesauce, sure. Then we have… [Tilting the metal bowl to show plums inside, a couple fall out.] Italian plums, that I got from my friend’s place. So these, I got a whole bunch. He has like four Italian plum trees at his place, so I got a whole lot. I’m going to use all of this. Cut it up, put them in the pot, and cook!

Actually, I’m going to mix the liquid first. So one cup of water, and…tablespoon of lemon. [Opens the refrigerator door then looks back.] Or lime? [Comes back with a bottle of lime juice.] I know the recipe says to use lemon, but… I think why not lime, because plums are usually pretty sweet, so this may go well with it. Why not? It says tablespoon, but… [Pours directly from the bottle, pauses, pours some more.] That’s more than a tablespoon, but it’s fine. [Cuts to Rogan walking back with a filled measuring cup.] Cup of water. And then… Cinnamon. [Walking back with a bottle of cinnamon.] Half a teaspoon. [Makes a “come on” face at the camera. Opens the top and pours some cinnamon in.] That’s definitely more than half a teaspoon, but… This is apple/plum sauce. Who doesn’t love cinnamon in this? And honestly, you can always add more or whatever to taste. So if you’re not sure, go ahead and put less. After baking–baking? Cooking, if you’re not happy with the taste, you can add more. I always love cinnamon, so I’m just liberally putting it in. Now I’m just put this aside to wait. Cut up everything, and cook.

[Camera shifts focus to the counter and a cutting board, timelapse of cutting the various fruits. Cuts back to Rogan.]

I had to pause cutting for a little, because… Well, I was going a little too quick and cut myself. [Shows bandaid on thumb.] Well. It’s not really cooking if you don’t hurt yourself, right? Right?

[Shift back to a timelapse again. Cutting is finished and Rogan starts stirring with a spoon. It suddenly slows to normal speed, he reaches in to pick something out. They move the bowl and lean into the camera.]

Make sure you get all of the stickers!

[Rogan tries to pull the sticker off with their fingers, pulls only part of it. Gives the camera an exasperated look, picks up the knife and cuts it off the apple, tosses it back into the bowl. Cuts to a close up of in the bowl, all the mixed fruits together. They pick up the bowl and carry it over to the InstantPot, putting it in. Rogan twists the lid on, closing the vent on the back, plugs it in, pauses to pet a loaf of bread, then sets the InstantPot on manual, adjusts to eight minutes, and gives a thumbs up. Cut to Rogan standing and talking.]

Now we just wait. And what you saw earlier… [Pointing at the loaf that was petted earlier.] That is plum bread I made yesterday. So good! So good. We went a little rogue on that recipe too. It had, it said we needed to use brown sugar. We had no brown sugar, so we just used regular sugar. I will check in again when this is done.

Finished! [Shows the InstantPot, the time shows L0:00.] Now…do this. [Reaches behind to carefully open the vent and release pressure.] Leave until it’s finished. I will take the scooper and mash up it a little. Put it in a bowl, fridge–no. Let it cool first. Let it cool first! Then put it in the fridge. All good to go.

[Looking inside the pot, the fruit has turned into a bright red/purple color and has softened. Rogan mashes it with the mixing spoon.]

Okay. That didn’t really work…the way I expected. A little too much liquid in it. So… [Looks inside the pot again, stirring it a little.] I may strain out the juice, put that aside. So I can have actual sauce. But keep that juice! Keep that for drinking, or… I don’t know. I’ll find out. That is what happens when you go rogue. Things don’t go quite as you expect. Still, I enjoyed this. I’m looking forward to tasting this. And I’ll see you next time. [End.]

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.

Round 6 Vlog/Wrap Up | Queer Lit Readathon | Vlogmas

Vlogmas day seven! This post is the vlog for the Queer Lit Readathon. Enjoy!

[It’s daylight, Rogan is standing and moving some while holding the camera in one hand and signing with the other.]

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to the Queer Lit Readathon vlog. I will try my best to remember to actually vlog throughout the week. But we’ll see what happens. Today’s the first day. I will be starting with…[shows iPad with a book cover] Tarnished Are the Stars. Because that book is a library loan, and it’s due in a few days. So I need to finish that first. But I’m really excited, I’m looking forward to it. [Shows Clap When You Land physical copy.] That’s a new book, the library just got it. So I’m excited to read that! I don’t know if I will read that next or something else. I don’t know. We’ll see what I feel like. That’s my first update for this week. Let’s find out how good I am at updating!

[An iPad lying on Rogan’s lap, showing the cover for Tarnished Are the Stars, a mug of coffee next to it. Cut to Rogan sitting in a dimly lit room.]

So, the first day of Queer Lit–really, I have time to read more but I’m going to stop reading for now. I finished Tarnished Are the Stars. That’s the first book finished, that’s a good thick book out of the way. I liked the story, the concept. It did remind me a lot of Cinder. But I’m not sure if that’s because that was put in my head before I read it, or just because of the parallels. The worldbuilding was…a little bit weak. It’s not as rich as I would have liked. This focused a lot more on people, their personal experiences, their thoughts. Nothing wrong with that, just that I appreciate it when there’s more worldbuilding. That didn’t take away from this story. Well, not too much anyway. I enjoyed it! I gave it four stars out of five, so… If you like YA, sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, kind of, this is good. The reason why I said sci-fi AND fantasy, kind of, is because… In the synopsis of this book, it says that people have clockwork hearts, and that tech is illegal. I…personally, find it a little bit too unbelievable. That’s just me, coming from a really strong science background, and really, fascination with science and how things work. I understand that in the real world, that kind of thing would not work for long without maintenance anyway. And it does mention maintenance, but… He invented a heart for other people that works without needing maintenance. That, I’m like… Not really how it works, but okay. Basically like a steampunk pacemaker, almost. I think? Maybe? I don’t know. I really did enjoy this. We’ll see how my other reads go.

[iPad showing cover of Death Threat. Cut to Rogan, sitting on a couch, good natural lighting.]

Day two update! When I got up this morning, I decided to read Vivek Shraya’s Death Threat. Because I thought it should be a quick read. Well. Yes. I finished it in like thirty minutes. It’s a really fast read. Not a bad thing! Just different, interesting. I may have misunderstood reading it a little bit. I thought it would be about more varied death threats, and so on. But no, it’s just one person sending a few letters. It’s not really what I expected. So that’s why I’m a little… um. Not… I don’t know. It’s not bad, it’s interesting and the art is pretty good too. It’s about a stranger who starts sending Vivek emails that are telling her that she should kill herself, you should be–have to accept that you’re a man not a woman, and so on. It’s really transphobic and yeah. So… It’s not bad, I gave it a good rating.

[iPad showing the cover of The Summer of Everything, quickly tapping through pages to first chapter.]

Now I’m going to start The Summer of Everything. Partly because I don’t want get up and get my other book upstairs, Clap When You Land. That’s due sooner, so I’m like hmm, probably should be starting that. But I don’t want to move right now so I’m just going to start Summer of Everything. I’m excited because I really liked his other book, Running With Lions. I’m excited to see what this book is about.

[Physical copy of Clap When You Land, flipping slowly through inner cover, dedication, a poem, and finally, the first page of the first chapter. Cuts to a physical copy of Confessions of the Fox, opening to the first page of the first chapter. Cuts to black. Comes back to Rogan standing in their room, talking to the camera which is stabilized on something.]

So… That’s it for the vlogs this week. I know. I started out good, but then lost it. That’s fine. The first two are already out of the way.

The third book I read was The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters. YES. When I finished, because I was reading a library book, it recommended “others you may like” and one was How to Be Remy Cameron. I immediately borrowed it, because yes, I want to read everything by him. The Summer of Everything is about Wesley Hudson, Wes for short. He’s home for the summer, after recently going on a trip to Italy. He’s back for the summer, and has decided to figure out his life before college starts in the fall. Also… He wants to finally ask out his crush, Nico. The crush has been going on for a while, and they’ve been best friends since childhood. This is probably not the best description of the book, but. Yes! The ending was not all happy happy, but I think it was the perfect mix of happiness and also sadness. It’s just…so good. All the feelings, honestly. Yes. I would recommend this, yes!

Next, I read Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. I… Seriously, I love everything by this author. So if you haven’t read anything any of her books, *clapping* do it! This is another good one. It’s about Yahaira who lives in NYC, and Camino who lives in the Dominican Republic. Camino is excited that her father is coming home to visit for the summer. She arrives at the airport, waiting for him to arrive, and finds out that he died on the flight over, the plane crashed. Yahaira is called to the principal’s office and informed that her father died in a flight leaving NYC. Both are grieving. After a while, they find out that their father had secrets, and they didn’t know about each other until that plane crash. That’s the story. This is really good, heart-wrenching. Obviously, I have no shared experiences as these girls, but the way Acevedo tells this story is powerful. This is told in verse poetry. Same as her first book, The Poet X. That’s really good. I really enjoy that format of storytelling, even though I’m not that into poetry. This format of storytelling is really good. If you enjoyed The Poet X, you will enjoy this too. This is really a story about a family hurt by secrets held by one man, how they figure it out, navigate that, how they heal from it. The family dynamics in this are really good. It’s a powerful story, and it’s not just this one story, it’s a common story that happens pretty often. So yeah, this is really good and I would recommend it.

Last, I finished Confessions of the Fox, just in time for the end of the week. This story is about Jack Sheppard, a famous folk hero. But he’s actually a thief, he’s famous for breaking out of prison, stealing important things, and so on. But this story twists that and asks what if Jack was actually trans? Back in that time, the 18th century I think. A while back, London still had no sewers, everything was put in the streets, filthy, that time. With the Plague Ships, that time period. The way this is presented, it’s like a manuscript for a book that was never published. The person who “discovered” the manuscript analyzes it and adds footnotes. Kind of adding information about that situation, the history behind that. And it uses a lot of slang from that time, with a footnote explaining it. The footnotes are almost a story of its own. The person who discovered the manuscript also adds stories about their personal life, and they’re also trans. They say that it seems like an authentic manuscript, but is it? Because all along, there’s been no mention of Jack being trans, no mention that they weren’t white. It had a lot of characters that, in common folktales, were white, but in this story, that person is really Black, that one is Asian, or others. Because really, London is a very diverse city, but people… In historical fiction, it’s often white-washed, really. I’m really unsure about the footnotes, because… They do add to the story, and it’s really interesting to see the person who discovered it, their story. It is interesting, yes. But I feel like this book excessively uses slang that’s not easily recognizable today. I’m wondering if that was really necessary? And because it had so much odd slang, we often had a footnote that “translated” the slang. I feel like this would have been much improved if, instead of footnotes for a single word saying it means this, having an index in the back. Or even the front, whatever. Just having a list of all the words in one place, instead of the footnotes, because… If I’m reading through, put it down for a bit, then come back to it. That word comes up again, and I don’t remember what it means, I have to flip through all of the footnotes to be able to find what that word is. Yeah sure, footnotes for expanding, more in-depth information, that’s fine. But singular words, no. It’s really interesting, this mentions the use of the term chimera, what they used to use to describe intersex people. That was a nice little expansion on a historical use of that word. And they did have a surgery, top surgery for Jack. I did enjoy this book overall, just the footnotes. That’s the only part I’m unsure about, and bothered me a little, but overall I enjoyed this. Yeah, I would recommend this if you like historical fiction, re-imaginings, that kind of thing.

I realized partway through filming, I forgot to mention which challenges and such, so I will do that quick right now. I will just cover which squares go with which books. [Video has a visual bingo board, with checkmarks appearing on the corresponding squares as Rogan lists off the books.]

  • Tarnished Are the Stars
    • Ace/aro
    • See Yourself
    • ???: Steampunk
  • Death Threat
    • Pre/Non-Medical Transition
    • Graphic Novel
  • The Summer of Everything
    • Group read
    • BIPOC
    • #ownvoices
    • Non-coming out
    • Queer friends
  • Clap When You Land
    • Background Romance
    • Host rec
    • MC Not Like You
  • Confessions of the Fox
    • Winter vibes
    • Retelling
    • Adult fiction (historical)

I covered all of the things! And just in time too! It’s not often you can hit all sixteen challenges with only five books. I’m pretty happy that happened! So… Let me know if you’ve read any of these books. Which ones you liked, didn’t like, whatever. Any recommendations for future books? Oh, also, why not ask you this. For these bingo board challenges, do you have any categories that you haven’t seen yet that you want us to do? Or that we’ve done in previous rounds, but you want to see again for the next round? Let me know! That’s it for today, thanks for reading.

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.

Vlogmas 2020

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to the official start of Vlogmas! This will be the fourth year in a row that I’m doing this. I am definitely not following the traditional format, which is a video for every day of December until Christmas. That’s already obvious by posting today, rather than on December 1st. Also, we’re in a pandemic. There’s not much happening, and most of us are spending our days at home. Vlogs certainly wouldn’t be very exciting. However! I decided that I do want to push myself to make a higher volume of videos for this month, so I’ll be doing every other day until Christmas. That’ll make a final of 13 videos, including my November books wrap up. I will be doing some translations of stories into ASL, some baking, and we’ll see what else! I have a text post with what I have planned on Patreon, so if you’re a Patron, you can already access it. If you become one, for as little as $1, you can see it! I will be trying my best to give early access, which is the $3 tier or up, for all of the videos this month, but I can’t guarantee it. It’s totally up to you if you want to become a Patron just for this month, then cancel once December is over, but I would appreciate it very much if you became a longer-term Patron! Alternatively, if you want to support me but not on a monthly basis, I have Ko-fi, which is once, whenever you pay. That self-promotion aside, I’m excited for some of the videos coming up this month! I’m hoping they’ll turn out as well as they do in my head. I’m still not sure what I will be doing for Christmas this year, if anything. I’m curious, are any of you going to be doing something different or special for the December holidays this year? Let me know, I’d love to see your ideas!

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.

November Books Wrap Up | BookTube

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome to my November wrap up! I know, I don’t have any videos between this and the October wrap up, buuuut! In December, there will be plenty more videos! Really quick before we start, I want to mention Adri’s video – 7 Things I’ve Learned From BookTube. I think it’s a great watch for anybody who’s a part of the BookTube community. Okay! Let’s get started, we have several books to get through.

First up is The Roommate by Rosie Danan. I saw Kathy read this, and the premise sounded like a hilarious and fun read. It was! Buttoned up socialite Clara moves to LA with hopes of kindling a relationship with her longtime crush. She arrives to learn that he’s leaving on tour and she’ll be stuck with a roommate she’s never met. After living together for a bit, she eventually finds out that Josh makes his living as a porn star. Clara is awkward at first, but she gets inspired by Josh’s passion for focusing on female desire and pleasure, and they work together to tackle the stigma. This was a great fun read, I enjoyed the dynamic between these two, I loved the development of both the personal and business relationships. This gets very steamy! I mean, how can it not when it involves a porn plot line? But it never get gross and fetishizing. It actually speaks against that, and celebrates sex positivity, being comfortable with your own body and desires. Josh and Clara had a really healthy relationship, they didn’t always act on their desires because they recognized that the moment wasn’t right for it. They also had great banter, and felt like real people. I did feel like there were some unresolved things with the family, but that in no way took away from my enjoyment of this fast and fun read!

Plain Bad Heroines by emily m. danforth. I was sent an ARC by Willam Morrow for a review, so thank you for that! This is a very sapphic book that tells us two stories that happen around the same location, one in the past and another today. In 1902, we learn of Brookhants in its day as a boarding school for girls and we follow the founders, staff, and some of the students. There’s a lot of drama around a certain book that’s sparked some romantic feelings among the girls. In the present day, we follow a group of three girls who are in one way or other connected to the production of a movie about the happenings at Brookhants and its history of sapphic love and death. At this point, Brookhants has been abandoned and is falling apart. The movie production is plagued with problem after problem, echoing the past. It’s odd, because this is called a horror-comedy, but I didn’t really get that much comedy. It certainly had more horror than comedy, but it was more creepy and atmospheric than actually scary. The 1902 storyline was actually interesting and the most gothic. Present-day was…well, okay. This is a story in a story in a story, so it can get a little confusing at times, trying to separate all of the threads. The concept of multiple stories within one was interesting, but it almost felt like the author was trying too hard to make it metafiction. Also, it is LONG. My copy of the book is 619 pages, and Goodreads says that the hardcover is also 619 pages. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy reading this, it just took me a while, because I was exhausted just thinking about how much I had to go. While I did appreciate the level of detail in this, I felt like it could have been cut down a little bit for better flow and pacing. The beginning of the story, probably about half of the book, was a little slow and could have been paced a little more quickly, but the second half of the book was great… Except for the very end. There was a lot of build up that kept going only to just kind of end, no major climax or anything. The epilogue left a lot to be desired. A lot of questions weren’t answered, and after finishing, I was disappointed that there wasn’t really any big connection with the past and today. The only overlaps were Brookhants and the book. It felt like two completely separate stories put together, which isn’t a problem but there’s no strong connection, so they could’ve probably stood on their own. Overall, I did enjoy reading this, but I wouldn’t enthusiastically recommend this.

Moonstruck Vol 1 & 2 by Grace Ellis and several illustrators. This is a world just like ours, where magical creatures exist alongside humans, and it focuses on a werewolf barista and her new girlfriend. In the first volume, they go on a date to a magic show that goes wrong. They have to work together to put a stop to this magician before worse things happen. In Vol 2, the group of friends go to a party at a fairy frat house, and one of them gets trapped. The winter solstice is coming up, a night of magical mischief, and they have to save the day. I thought this was a cute little queer graphic novel, and I enjoyed seeing the world that the author and artists built. They included different accommodations for different sized creatures, a wheelchair filled with water for water-dwelling creatures like mermaids, and so on. It was fine, and certainly enjoyable. However, I had a little too many questions unanswered. Like, they make a whole thing out of werewolves not being supposed to transform, but then it kind of goes away without a reason to why it was mentioned. Several plot holes and too convenient moments. Cute but left me wanting more. I’d love to see this world be built on and expanded more!

Persephone Station by Stina Leicht. We’re taken to a planet that seems to be backwater, largely ignored by the United Republic of Worlds, and Serrao-Orlov Corporation wants to exploit a few secrets of the planet. Rosie is an owner of a bar that caters to wannabe criminals and rich tourists, but in the back, high-tier criminals and people who want to employ them mingle. Rosie also happens to know the secrets of Persephone, and has been doing what they can to protect the secrets. They hire Angel and her crew to do the work. Angel is an ex-marine, her crew has a mercenary, assassin, and criminals, who all have a penchant for doing the right thing even if it means breaking laws. Rosie’s job will pit Angel’s small crew against a well-funded army, but despite the odds, they’re all in to protect Persephone once they learn the secrets that Serrao-Orlov is exploiting for their own gain. I very intentionally avoided saying what the secrets are, because I didn’t know them going into this book and I think it’s best that way. This is about a nearly all-women cast, multiple queer characters, multiple characters of color, and the kicking ass that goes down in this. The queer identities that appear are lesbian, bisexual, trans, and nonbinary. A case could also be made for having disability rep in this, since Angel is ex-military, and her role caused her to leave the military with several cybernetic modifications. This has been described as a space opera, and a read for fans of The Mandalorian, which is indeed accurate! Be warned, the pacing of the first portion is somewhat slow, but once the main mission starts, it really picks up. The beginning has a lot of info about the characters, and I enjoyed the world-building even though it was a teeny bit lacking. I didn’t really have a problem with it, because I’m a huge nerd for anything sci-fi, so I had no problem filling in the gaps myself. I would definitely recommend this if you love sci-fi and queer badasses kicking ass. (Also, that cover is gorgeous!)

Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram. This is the sequel to Darius the Great Is Not Okay, set not long after the family’s trip to Iran. Darius has had a lot of changes in his life – he’s actually getting along with his dad, he has a boyfriend, he’s on the varsity soccer team, and has an internship at his favorite tea shop. Life seems to be going well. So well in fact, that he’s surprisingly becoming friends with Chip, who is a teammate but also best friend of his biggest bully, Trent Bolger. But of course, it won’t stay that way. His dad is out of town for a long business trip, so his grandmothers come into town to help out, and he’s not even sure if they like him. The internship is not what he thought it would be, and he’s starting to have doubts about his boyfriend. Darius still has struggles with his depression and self-confidence. The first book was great, but I was left unclear on if Darius was queer or not. It’s crystal clear now! It’s always hard for a sequel to live up to the first book, but this one certainly does. It’s very much a coming-of-age story, figuring out his feelings about his boyfriend and sex, keeping the family together when the parents are overworked and his sister is struggling at school, and uncertainty about Chip. I loved how supportive his teammates are when they meet his boyfriend, and barely blink when he shows up with nail polish on. His entire family is great, especially Laleh. I love Laleh so much. His queer grandmas were very closed off at first, but they eventually opened up a bit and talked with Darius about their past. One of them is trans, and they talk a little about the transition and how that affected the family. I appreciated that. I also really appreciate the mental health representation in this, how they talked about it and handled it. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. I really love that more and more authors are going the route of having a person be described with gender neutral pronouns until they’re introduced. That’s how people should be thinking, to avoid assumptions, and avoid misgendering someone who might not even use he/she. Overall, I really enjoyed this sequel and would be thrilled if there was a third book!

Build Yourself a Boat by Camonghne Felix. This is a poetry collection that explores trauma, healing, survival, and what might come after. Obviously, because it’s poetry, I can’t really tell you more about it. I’m not big on poetry, but I am trying to read more. For this one, I decided instead of reading multiple poems at once, I’d read one or two a night to absorb it a bit more. That doesn’t work for everyone obviously, but I think that might be a better way for me to read poetry collections. There are some poems that really stood out to me, and some not so much but I think that’s pretty typical of collections. Felix plays around with style and form which is interesting to see. I don’t know if enjoyed is the right word, but I do think this is a good collection of powerful poetry.

And finally, I read The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow. I had hoped to read this during the Queer Lit Readathon, but my hold came in earlier than expected. Earth has been invaded by the Ilori, and a misunderstanding wiped out one-third of the world’s population. We have two views, a human named Ellie and an Ilori named M0Rr1s, or Morris. All humans have been herded into centers so the Ilori can control them because they were deemed dangerous and volatile from the initial reaction to the invasion. Ellie is in a New York City center, where she runs a secret library. Ilori have banned all forms of human expression, including art, music, books. Morris is an Ilori that was born in a lab and raised to eventually invade Earth and prepare it for the true Ilori. He was raised to be emotionless, like true Ilori, but he has a secret liking for human music and wants more. He happens to find Ellie’s hidden library, and instead of delivering her for execution, he recruits her to get him more music. They form a tentative alliance, and work together in their rebellion. They bring stories and music together to fight back and save humanity. I absolutely loved this, I tore through this book. Ellie has a huge love for books, and I relate to that so much. She’s a plus-size Black queer teen that has anxiety, and Morris learns about his own demi-aceness after talking with Ellie. There are also multiple queer side characters, one of them being nonbinary. The Ilori have standard greetings where they say their name, gender, and pronouns, which was cool to see. I loved how even though this story is literally about an alien invasion and trying to overthrow that, it’s still a very grounded story and empowering. This story doesn’t pull any punches though, and Ellie speaks about how the world has always been dangerous and unsafe for her, it’s just coming from a different source. She ends up being the one that has the decision and power to save humanity, and whether they deserve it, if it’s possible for humanity to change. Ellie and Morris could have easily fallen into violence, fear, or hate, but they kept choosing love above all else. I enjoyed the world-building, why/how the Ilori came to Earth and changed it. The only thing that threw me was the ending. I won’t spoil anything, but as far as I know, this is currently a standalone novel. The ending seems to be setting up for a sequel, and it doesn’t end in a satisfying way. It’s extremely open-ended, so be aware of that if you dislike that kind of ending. I really, really enjoyed this despite that ending.

Technically, I finished two other books this month, but they were for the Queer Lit Readathon, so I’ll be putting those into the wrap-up for the readathon. That’s it for this month! Let me know if you’ve read any of these books!

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