Trans Books Recs for Awareness Week!

My mom actually reminded me of this week, which is quite wholesome.  Since GLADD is celebrating trans awareness as well as TDOR this year, I wanted to do one of my fav things — and talk about trans books. This post is about my fav trans books so if you are in the mood for a new read I hope this helps. 🙂 

All Time Favorite In Trans Book: 

Dreadnought (and it’s sequel) has not only the own voices quality when it comes to trans representation being included, but the plot is too intertwined with the experiences of being trans and being a part — or pushed — out of a community. 

Runner Up In Fav Trans Books:

If I Was Your Girl is the winner of a Stonewall Book Award and several others. This contemporary book has a lot of heart. While I don’t remember it’s plot as in detail as the last I remember feeling like it was a gift. Insight to a “less complicated” (as I believe the author says in the back) trans experience I do not share. This book probably has the only acknowledgments that I remember afterwards. That were incredibly important to include because they reminds us that real people are always more complicated and diverse.  

Trans Books Honorable Mentions: 

Okay, and maybe some mixed media because it can’t be about books 24/7.

Did you know in Watch Dogs Legion you can just find trans aces walking around doing their things? That is until you ask them to fight against a police state. Watch Dogs Legion’s representation is at one level so throw away text based. And at another an innovative choose your own adventure hero experience. I get a spark of joy when I see a random character with bio that reads: ‘Had Gender Affirming Operation’, “Looked for Trans Friendly Therapy” or “Purchased a They/Them Pin”. It’s not Ubisoft’s first trans character, but the random endless amount of trans playable non-playable characters in WD:L reminds me how just anyone can be trans.

There’s Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver and Rose Sinclair’s books that both always seem to include ace and transgender characters. (If not trans ace character within them.) There’s Unburied Fables which is a-spec focused charity anthology with several fairytale retelling that are about trans characters. And I wish more of Anne Chivon’s poetry was in print so I could show you really kick ass non-binary poems.

That fact that big and small trans awareness efforts are being done across the media landscape (including emoji now) makes me so hopeful that people will someday soon stop pretending that there’s not enough of us to matter.

Did you know the creator of the transgender flag Monica Helms also wrote novels? I haven’t read any of them, I just think that’s so cool and fantastic. That might be since the top the listed reasoning for making the trans flag’s stripes mirrored was so no matter how you fly the flag it’s still right. Symbolizing that there is no one way to be trans. Sorry for the longer post than planned but say can I say: Trans is beautiful

Trans Awareness Week Book Recs!

My mom actually reminded me of this week, which is quite wholesome.  Since GLADD is celebrating trans awareness as well as TDOR this year, I wanted to do one of my fav things — and talk about books. This post is about my fav trans books so if you are in the mood for a new read I hope this helps. 🙂 

All Time Favorite: 

Dreadnought (and it’s sequel) has not only the own voices quality when it comes to trans representation being included, but the plot is too intertwined with the experiences of being trans and being a part — or pushed — out of a community. 

Runner Up:

If I Was Your Girl is the winner of a Stonewall Book Award and several others. This contemporary book has a lot of heart, and while I don’t remember it’s plot as in detail as the last I remember feeling like it was a gift in a way. Insight to a very ‘less complicated” (as I believe the author says in the back) trans experience I do not share. This book probably has the only acknowledgments that I remember that are incredibly important to include because they take that “less complicated” narrative and reminds us that non-fictional people are so complicated and diverse.  

Mixed Format Honorable Mentions: 

Did you know in Watch Dogs Legion you can just find trans aces walking around doing their things, until you ask them to fight against a police state? Watch Dogs Legion’s representation is at one level so throw away text based and at another an innovative clever choose your own adventure hero experience. I just get this little spark of joy when I see a random character and the bio is like ‘Had Gender Affirming Operation’, “Looked for Trans Friendly Therapy” or “Purchased a They/Them Pin”. It’s not Ubisoft’s first trans character but the random endless amount of trans playable non-playable characters in WD:L reminds me how just anyone can be trans and that’s beautiful to me. 

There’s Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver and my books that both always seem to include ace and transgender characters if not trans ace character within them. There’s Unburied Fables which is a-spec focused charity anthology with several fairytale retelling that are about trans characters. And I wish more of Anne Chivon’s poetry was in print so I could show you really kick ass nonbinary poems.


That fact that big and small trans awareness efforts are being done across the media landscape (including emoji now) makes me so hopeful that people will hopefully someday soon stop pretending that there’s not enough of us to matter.

Did you know the creator of the transgender flag Monica Helms also wrote novels? I haven’t read any of them, I just think that’s so cool and fantastic. I think I haven’t read them because nothing will top the listed reasoning for making the trans flag’s stripes mirrored so that no matter how you fly it the flag is still right symbolizing that there is no one way to be trans. Sorry for the longer post than planned but say can I say — Trans is beautiful. 

Happy Release Day To Pharos!

Hackers, faeries, screaming rockabilly neighbors.

Rachel Sharp first seamlessly merged our world with one of fae in the first book Phaethon, and Pharos is a brilliant addition to the series. 

Here’s our full review of the second:
The amount of heart this sequel holds is as magical as the mythical creatures it features. This time around we are presented with more of the book’s timeless, yet now changing, world. A story filled with situations that may be dire at first glance, but reveal hope with the aid of new friends and old fae. 

By the end, you’ll want to believe in fairies too. Pharos is everything a sequel should be, making the Phaethon Series even more of a must read event.

🌹 Reviews: Permanent Record by Mary M.K. Choi

The first fifty to hundred pages on this book are fantastic. There was so many good lines about identity, depression, race and how all of those things are intermix in a confusing fashion that make it really hard to explain unless you are living it. At one point our main character Pab says, “I don’t even know what we’re arguing about at this point, but it’s clear that being locked in an idiot’s arms race of saying ignorant things is easier than having a real discussion.” That’s a fucking brilliant line, and contextually an even more brilliant summary on how important discussions often get handled.

The next hundred of pages however? A mess. The author’s acknowledgements make a point to say that second books are really hard and she broke her brain trying to write it and I think this book needed more time to actually bake in her mind since she did not what you wanted to say with this story so says nothing for most of the book, leaving us with this raw contradictory rambling of a book.

Reviews will highlight the gems in this story. Show the strength of Mary H.K. Choi’s writing style, but I don’t really see any reason to going to find those gems myself. An honest summary of the book would be two characters with self made problems who aren’t working together as much as they’d like because they aren’t honest with each other or themselves. Mary H. K. Choi’s first book, does not have this problem. Which makes Permanent Record come off more as an author deeply confused trying to empathize with both these two extremes and unable to bridge her own thoughts.

I want to end on a good note so I’ll say now and always, the hardcover of this book is a work of art. The dust sleeve being part of the cover, but yet not. The work that is hidden underneath the dust cover is amazing. I got my copy for like ten bucks versus the nineteen cover price so I don’t feel like the time or money was a waste. I just wish I had popular highlights in my paperback version that marked the hidden treasures so I could view the collective thing as work of art. More then any other book I’ve read that ability would also better reflect the theme. The online listing doesn’t do the cover justice, go look at it the next time you are in bookstore.

I’m officially calling this #spelunking trip over at 205 pages, when writing the review I tried to flip through the book but felt it fall even more apart. If you make it to the bicycle seen I feel like Lee over the idea of finishing this. If you’re the Pab here, or both at once, maybe this book is what you needed, like I hope it is what the author needed even if I’m left with more concerns then I started out with.

🌹Rose Reviews: Asexual Erotics

Asexual Erotics

Asexual Erotics, as you can imagine, discusses erotics with a focus on asexuality. The focus is how the meaning of erotic had changed since Freud. How more modern queer theorists define it to mean more than simply the “sexual”. Packed for with historical examples of black and lesbian activism. The great thing about about hitting such a specific note is this discussion is all but nonexistent elsewhere. It asks what are we missing when we make ‘erotic’ be a single note.

The book definitely is not an introduction to asexuality.

It’s strong academic voice at times. This makes some points less clear than they could have been. If you hang around queer spaces and think your life could use more theory or history. Maybe even wish those discussions tossed in of human development. Then this is definitely the sort of book to pick up. 

The book also does a good job explaining how white women were rewarded for being “sexually liberated”. While in the same decade, people of color were punished in a number of ways. For even the appearance of the same. By doing so, this book showcases that social change is not an absolute for all people. But varies along intersectional lines.

The book also goes over ‘political celibacy’. Why it exists, how it often differs across race, and why it’s often grouped under asexuality history. Dig in to find out why those groups are so casually always put together, and glossed over. 

My criticism about Asexual Erotics? The chapters on childhood and ageism could have been combined for a stronger point. Instead of a vague “this is a thing that people debate about” tone. The epilogue featuring the discussion of violent entitled sexism felt like an afterthought more then an ending note. 

Despite my less than rave review for those chapters, overall the book left with me plenty. New ideas and history nearly lost to time. Things to consider when discussing how complete freedom can be gained for all. Here’s a few quotes I haven’t posted on our social media accounts.

“It is only through asexuality that a sufficient critique of compulsory sexuality as limiting to people across spectrums and different positionalities can be developed.” 

“Where there is queerness there is also asexuality.”
– Asexual Erotics 

Curious to read more? You can get your own copy here! If fiction is more your style, check the rest of our Rose Reviews series here.

🌹 Reviews: Asexual Erotics

As you can imagine this book discusses erotics with a focus on asexuality. It’s introduction focused on how the meaning of erotic had changed since Freud and how more modern queer theorists define it to mean more than simply the “sexual”. The great thing but about it hitting such a specific note is this discussion is all but nonexistent when it comes to social ace places. It asks what are we missing when we make ‘erotic’ be a single note. 

The book definitely is not an introduction to asexuality, it has a strong academic voice at times that make the points less clear than they could have been, but if you hang around queer spaces and think your life could use more theory, history, or a look at discussions of human development then this is definitely the sort of book to pick up. 

In my opinion the book also does a good job explaining how white women were rewarded for being “sexually liberated” while in the same decade people of color were and are punished in a number of ways for even the appearance of the same. In doing so, this book showcases that social change is not an absolute for all people, but varies along intersectional lines.

The book also goes over ‘political celibacy’, why it exists, how it often differs across race, and why it’s often grouped under asexuality history. It’s the first time I’ve seen a reason it’s so casually grouped and a spells out those reasons instead I’d just casually glossing over.

I feel like the chapters on childhood and ageism could have been combined for a stronger point instead of a more vague “this is a thing that people debate about”. I also found the epilogue featuring the discussion of violent entitled sexism felt like an afterthought more then an ending note. 

Despite my less than rave review for some chapters, overall the book left with me new things, ideas, often history nearly lost to time to consider when discussing how complete freedom can be gained for all. Here’s a few quotes I haven’t posted in our “ref” tag or on twitter that I enjoyed. 

“It is only through asexuality that a sufficient critique of compulsory sexuality as limiting to people across spectrums and different positionalities can be developed.” 

“Where there is queerness there is also asexuality.” 

If you’re curious to read more you can get your own copy here.

🌹 Rose Reviews: Waking Up The Sun

Waking Up The Sun ebook and cat

Waking Up The Sun front loads a protagonist who has anxiety and has already learned ways to cope with it. It mentions magic almost right away too, but my favorite part of that is that a potion is considered magic instead of just having a spell go “cure” him. It’s a great bit of world building I wish more things had. Having a lead character who has to consider their racing thoughts and find medicine because that’s part of their basic needs is so a plot point, instead of a casual one off line. That’s amazing to see.

Around the 20% mark you see the consideration of being lost in the woods and having to wash your clothes. These are such small things that most writers just ignore because they think it will ruin— whatever. But these are the exact things that makes Waking Up The Sun real and something that feels new.

The only criticism I have of this was I thought the writing could be tighter. Sometimes I thought why is this being mentioned now, or at all. It may not be the best read for the sex repulsed for similar reasons but maybe this review can serve as your content warning.

With that said, this book is why I like to read from LGBTQ authors, generally found from small publishers. They have a number of important things that aren’t found elsewhere. Both men in the pairing are sweet. Awkward only in an realistic way instead of being an often sexist adorkable trope. I think my favorite thing is how much they check in with each other, ask if the other is okay.

[Learn more or buy your own copy here.]

Waking Up The Sun

If you like our quick book reviews, be sure to check out more from the rose garden archive.

🌹 Reviews: Waking Up The Sun

Waking Up The Sun front loads a protagonist who has anxiety and has already learned ways to cope with it. It mentions magic almost right away too, but my favorite part of that is that a potion is considered magic instead of just having a spell go “cure” him. It’s a great bit of world building I wish more things had. Having a lead character who has to consider their racing thoughts and find medicine because that’s part of their basic needs is so a plot point, instead of a casual one off line. That’s amazing to see.

Around the 20% mark you see the consideration of being lost in the woods and having to wash your clothes. These are such small things that most writers just ignore because they think it will ruin— whatever. But these are the exact things that makes Waking Up The Sun real and something that feels new.

The only criticism I have of this was I thought the writing could be tighter. Sometimes I thought why is this being mentioned now, or at all. It may not be the best read for the sex repulsed for similar reasons but maybe this review can serve as your content warning.

With that said, this book is why I like to read from LGBTQ authors, generally found from small publishers. They have a number of important things that aren’t found elsewhere. Both men in the pairing are sweet. Awkward only in an realistic way instead of being an often sexist adorkable trope. I think my favorite thing is how much they check in with each other, ask if the other is okay.

[Learn more or buy your own copy here.]

🌹 Rose Reviews: Our Bloody Pearl

Welcome to another edition of Rose Reviews today we have Our Bloody Pearl by D.N. Dyrn! The book review series where I quickly since you my opinion of a book, and then allow you to run off so you can enjoy it for yourself. Because I’m sure you will!

First stop in this treasure hunt? Our Bloody Pearl has a great cover.

Our Bloody Pearl

I see this book cycle around from time to time in ace places. The books protagonist, Dejean, is an ace of color and everything is respectfully done. Honestly that can turn into a trash fire if written by someone who didn’t care about the community. It’s super clear D. N. Bryn did here.

But wait there’s more! Ace rep isn’t the only plus this book has going for it. The story ✨ shines ✨ the brightest when it talks about disability and healing from abuse. That’s where the heart of this novel is to me. Almost every line about accepting your disabilities is a popular highlight. For good reason.

If you even passively like mermaids and pirates I’d absolutely recommend this book. Hell, if you don’t. Try this. Let Our Bloodly Pearl change your mind.

Be sure to check out our other reviews here. Also, I love Dejean v much, kthxbuy!

🌹 Reviews: Our Bloody Pearl

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Our Bloody Pearl cycles in ace places because Dejean is an ace of color and everything is respectfully done when it could have easily been a trash fire if written by someone who didn’t care about the community. But ace rep isn’t the only plus this book has going for it. The story ✨ shines ✨ as it talks about disability and healing from abuse. That’s where the heart of this novel is to me and almost every line about accepting your disabilities is a popular highlight for good reason. If you even passively like mermaids and pirates I’d absolutely recommend this book. Also, I love Dejean v much, kthxbuy!