Book Recommendations with Varian – YA Science-Fiction/Fantasy With F/F Romances!

Book Recommendations: Young Adult SFF with F/F Romances. Images: Varian the toad wearing a shirt that reads 'Master Mischief was right about the cheese'

Welcome back to the Pond, friends! I hope you are all reading some wonderful books and are ready to add more to your to-read list today!

In case you’re new to the Pond’s recommendation posts, the recommendation posts are brought to you by Varian, the Pond’s very own Toadshifter who is knowledgeable in all kinds of magic! One of Varian’s ambitions is to get better at sewing, hence why whenever Varian has shown you their latest costume, they will always recommend a book that inspired that costume.

We have been blessed with more books that more sapphic representation lately, and I’m excited to share even more with you all today. I thought I would spice up today’s book recommendation post by recommending you all books that not only have f/f representation, but are also science-fiction/fantasy stories as well. Reading stories about queer girls always makes my heart happier, and I hope you all can add some of these books to your to-read lists!

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BLOG TOUR: Not Your Backup by C.B. Lee – Expectedly Light-Hearted and Unexpectedly Critical; Featuring The Queer Latinx Heroine We’ve All Been Waiting For

Text: C.B. Lee, Not Your Backup; Sidekick Squad Blog Tour! 27th May - 7th May. Image: A brown teen with short dark brown hair in mid-jump.

“Friend! Today is finally the day!”

Xiaolong looks particularly excited today, and you don’t blame her. Today is the first day of the Sidekick Squad blog tour (you know this, because Xiaolong has been reminding you for days now!) and it is her first time organising such a big and important event!

Xiaolong the axolotl, holding up a copy of NOT YOUR BACKUP by C.B. Lee and smiling“There will be friends visiting the Pond today and I want to look my best.” She stands a little straighter, magicks a copy of Not Your Backup, and gives you her best pose. “Friend, I’m feeling a little nervous. Do you think I can practice my pitch of this book with you?”

You happily agree. She does look a little nervous, but you know that she just needs a little encouragement.

She clears her throat with an ‘ahem!’ and raises the book up to show you. “Friend, you know how much I love the Sidekick Squad series! And oh my, this third book was everything that I wanted! I mean, it has action, there’s friendship, there’s even some exploration about love and attraction and romance and identity! I just loved it.”

You give her an encouraging nod and tell her that she’s doing good so far! Xiaolong seems to relax at your assurances, and gives you a big smile.

“Well, friend, since you have me started, I want to tell you more about this book! So, Not Your Backup is so awesome because…”

Foreword and gratitude

Three years ago, I read a book that changed my life.

That book was Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee. Not Your Sidekick was one of the first books where I saw myself represented; it was the first time I had felt seen. Reading Jess’s struggle with her diaspora identity struck such a deep chord within me, and I’ve been in love with the Sidekick Squad series and its wonderful characters ever since.

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Year of the Asian Reading Challenge – Book Recommendations for February’s Prompt: Tropes!

Varian the green toad wearing a panda onesie, holding a red cup of tea. Text underneaht: BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS: Year of the Asian reading challenge; February Prompt: Tropes!

It’s the first day of the month, and Varian has sent you a special invitation to join them at the Pond today. You remember the last time you had tea with them, and they had made their first costume (a rainbow!) and how they shared their favourite diverse anthologies with you. Could they possibly have a new costume?

Varian the toad wearing a panda costume, holding onto a red cup with tea.When you finally find Varian by their favourite rock, they aren’t a toad anymore. In fact, they’re now a big and white panda, and they’re sipping at, what smells like, a strong brew of jasmine tea.

“Friend!” they exclaim when they see you, and they do a small twirl. “What do you think? I finished it last night!”

You tell them that they look marvellous, and that they have definitely improved since the last costume; the fabric looks more aligned and the stitching much cleaner. Your kind comment gets a little blush out of Varian and they muster a thank you.

This is for the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge that Xiaolong is helping out with,” they explain. “I thought it would be fun to participate, and I am aiming to be a panda. Xiaolong has been thinking of what books to read, and so I thought I would share my knowledge and recommend a few to you.”

Oh, this is wonderful! If you’re not mistaken, the month of February is all about tropes, so Varian’s recommendations are timely. You settle yourself down comfortably, and ask what recommendations they have today.

Greetings friends, and welcome to February and our second month of the Year of the Asian reading challenge!

Today’s post is something I’m really excited to share with you all. If you haven’t heard already, myself and three other spectacular book bloggers (Lily, Shealea, and Vicky) are hosting the Year of the Asian Challenge (or YARC, for short!) a year-long reading challenge dedicated entirely to reading Asian literature by Asian authors. As part of YARC, I have the privilege of sharing with you all my book recommendations for this month’s prompts: tropes!

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The Pond’s Most Anticipated Reads of 2019, Part I. – Eight Sequels Releasing in 2019 That Will Inevitably Destroy Me (In a Good Way)

TEXT: The Pond's Most Anticipated Reads; Eight Sequels Releasing in 2019 That Will Destroy Me; Image: Xiaolong the pink axolotl, reading a book and sitting inside a book tent and fort, surrounded by books.

You’re feeling rather excited to visit the Pond today. Before leaving the magical boundary of the Pond on your last visit, little Xiaolong had run after you and told you that she was planning something fun for everyone. “I wanted to start a tradition,” she had said. “And because you’re our good friend, I want you to be there. Make sure you visit soon, okay?”

As you cross the boundary into the Pond, you see that little blanket forts have been erected around the Pond’s edge.

Xiaolong the pink axolotl wearing an upside-down flower hat, smiling and holding up a stack of books.“Friend!” calls Xiaolong. She crawls out from one of the blanket forts – the blanket is a blue as deep as the sky with golden stars embroidered on it – holding a small stack of books. “Surprise!” she cheers, looking absolutely delighted. “I thought having a blanket fort party would be a great way to start the new year would be to have a big sleepover where we just read together and talk about the books we’re excited about. Look! I even made a tent for you.”

You turn around, following her gaze. Indeed, across from Xiaolong’s tent is your very own blanket fort – you were worried for a second that you had to squeeze into Xiaolong’s tiny one! You make yourself comfortable in your own fort, and glance around; it’s pretty cosy in here.

So what books are you excited about, Xiaolong? you ask.

A big smile grows on Xiaolong’s face at your question. She sits across from you, and holds up one of the books in her stack. And thus begins your blanket fort party, where she shares with you all the books she’s excited to read this year.

Friends, I went down the Goodreads rabbit hole. I thought to myself, okay, I’ll just put together a simple list of 8 books that I’m excited about! And so I did a lot of research. Five hours later, I found over 70 wonderful diverse books that are releasing in 2019 alone – and I’m still not finished looking. And I realised, oh dear, choosing only EIGHT BOOKS RELEASING IN 2019 is an impossible task.

So rather than agonise for hours about which eight books to choose, I decided to do a week-long feature of all the books I am excited about!

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