Book Review – The Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Adèle has only one goal: catch the purple-haired thief who broke into her home and stole her exocore, thus proving herself to her new police team. Little does she know, her thief is also the local baker. 

Claire owns the Croissant-toi, but while her days are filled with pastries and customers, her nights are dedicated to stealing exocores. These new red gems are heralded as the energy of the future, but she knows the truth: they are made of witches’ souls. 

When her twin—a powerful witch and prime exocore material—disappears, Claire redoubles in her efforts to investigate. She keeps running into Adèle, however, and whether or not she can save her sister might depend on their conflicted, unstable, but deepening relationship. 

Review:

So because I can never stick to my “to read” plans, I deviated from the list I made at the start of the month and chose this book as it meant I was still sticking with my “Queer books for Pride” theme. I picked this up a while ago because I will almost auto-buy any SFF with Asexual characters (Adèle is Biromantic Demisexual) and was super excited to read it. Also, the cover is just absolutely beautiful – I probably would have bought it for that alone if I didn’t know about the awesome representation in the book.

The main character of the book is Claire, also known as Claude, is a genderfluid aromantic baker. Adèle is a police officer who has just moved to the city after having to leave her last team for investigating things people wanted to stay secret. The book starts with Claire breaking into Adèle’s new home to steal her exocore and from there the plot focuses on Claire’s attempts at discovering who is behind the exocores while Adèle focuses on hunting down the mysterious thief.

The best part of this book is definitely the characters, both Adèle and Claire are very well written and you could put them in any situation and I’d enjoy reading about it – the fact that they tend to end up in pretty interesting ones is just a bonus. The side characters are also all very well written and I loved them all (at least, the good ones).

This is set in a very obviously French setting, and the characters themselves speak French (written in English for us readers, but there’s little snippets of French in there such as the cute phrase Adèle and Claire say to each other). The author is from Québec and as I’ve never been, I’m unsure how much is based on there but I personally got a very strong Parisian vibe from it, especially the bridge which reminded me a lot of the many beautiful bridges across the Seine.

I was originally going to describe this as a perfect short read, but turns out it’s actually 400 pages! I was reading it on my Kindle and was so engrossed I didn’t notice the length of it.

This is a book I would highly recommend, especially if you’re looking to read more Queer books for Pride month. Be warned though, it will give you huge cravings for delicious French pastries!

Book Review – Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Frances Janvier spends most of her time studying.

Everyone knows Aled Last as that quiet boy who gets straight As.

You probably think that they are going to fall in love or something. Since he is a boy and she is a girl.

They don’t. They make a podcast.

In a world determined to shut them up, knock them down, and set them on a cookie cutter life path, Frances and Aled struggle to find their voices over the course of one life-changing year. Will they have the courage to show everyone who they really are? Or will they be met with radio silence? 

Review:

I picked this up from a list of books with Aro/Ace characters as it happened to be one of the few on the list that I could get from the library. I knew nothing about it until I collected it and despite not usually being a fan of YA Contemporary, I was immediately intrigued by the fact that it’s made clear straight away that Francis and Aled are not going to fall in love.

Now, I would disagree with that. They’re definitely in love with each other but a platonic friendship love rather than romantic. Indeed their growing friendship was the highlight for me as it was so nice to see such a nice, comfy friendship grow as I loved both of them and was just so happy seeing them happy. At it’s core, this is a book about friendship and growth and dealing with that awkward “What am I going to do now?” phase at the end of High School.

Reading this, with all the references to things like social media, reminded me so much of when I was a teenager on Tumblr and made me think of how much I would have loved friends like Francis and Aled at that age. I found them both very relatable, particularly Francis with her self-doubt and fear of not being good enough. I loved the idea of the Podcast and really enjoyed the snippets of it we saw throughout the novel.

The characters in this are also all very diverse – not only are the majority of the main and side characters Queer, but several of them are also varying ethnicities (Francis is half Ethiopian, Raine is Indian and Daniel is South Korean). It’s always great to see more intersectionality in representations of Queer characters.

If you are looking for a great book to read for Pride month then I highly recommend this. It’s an absolutely fantastic book and I just want to hug every single character in it.

My Pride Reading List

My Pride Reading List

Happy Pride everybody!

Now, I don’t often make reading list posts because I inevitably get distracted by something else and then I don’t get around to reading them and feel bad. However, I realised that even if I don’t necessarily read them all, chances are that others that read this might find some new books that interest them – especially as these ones are all Queer ones.

I’ve tried to keep this short, at just 5 books, in the hope it might make it easier to finish (especially as I also have a pile of library books waiting to be read and returned that will definitely distract me).

Anyway, in no particular order, the books I hope to read are:


 

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I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman

I read Radio Silence by her last month which I absolutely adored and since my library also have this book of hers, I had to grab it. This is definitely one book I’m guaranteed to read this month as I need to get it back to the library! It’s YA contemporary and the main characters are a Muslim girl and a Trans boy so for those looking to diversify their reading, this looks like an excellent choice.


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Watchtower by Elizabeth A. Lynn (Book 1 of the Chronicles of Tornor)

I just recently learnt about the fact that this author was one of the first to include Queer characters in her books. I’ve chosen this one for now (as I love fantasy trilogies) however I may end up changing my mind as she also has a SF book and a short story collection that look interesting.


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Werecockroach by Polenth Blake

I’m not going to lie, I chose this entirely based on the name. However, I did also choose it because the main character is Asexual (also Agender and Aromantic) as books with Asexual main characters automatically jump to the top of my TBR list. It’s also a short novella which is only 99p on Amazon so at that price, I couldn’t resist! This will probably be my first read as it’ll be nice to get one out of the way early.


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The King’s Peace by Jo Walton

I’m a huge fan of Jo Walton, having read many of her other books, however my library didn’t have this series when I went on my “Read everything she’s ever written” binge so I totally overlooked it until recently when I discovered the main character is Asexual.


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The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

This has been a very popular book and I’ve seen lots of people talking about it on Twitter and well, it has a dragon on the cover so of course my dragon-loving self is going to want to read it. I’m super lucky though as my library request finally came in and as it’s so in demand, I’m not able to renew it which means I only have until the 8th of June to read it. I didn’t actually know it had Queer characters in it until I was creating this list and I’ve not looked further to find out their orientations as it’s already a “must-read” due to the library deadline.


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Moonshire by Jasmine Gower

I lied, this is book number 6. I’ve included this one as it’s one I got last year as an ARC that I never got around to reading. It was on a list of Ace/Aro books (one of the characters is Aromantic) and I realised that it’s one of my pile of shame (overdue ARCs) so if I have the time, I definitely want to try squeeze this in.


 

So here we have the 6 books (10 if you count the other books in the two trilogies I’ve listed) I plan to read this month. Have you read any of these? Any others you would recommend? Let me know!