Liv approached me to write a guest post about what books Valentina would read if she lived in our modern world, and I absolutely loved this idea! Val’s journey of self-love and growth was based on her finding validation on the books she read inside her tower. They were her salvation and what kept her grounded for many years. So here are a few books that I think she would love:
The Second Mango by Shira Glassman
What would be better for Val than a book about a dorky lesbian queen looking for lady love? The Second Mango is an adorable fantasy story with Jewish inspirations. I’m sure Val and Shulamit would be great friends if they ever met in some parallel world.
Queen Shulamit never expected to inherit the throne of the tropical land of Perach so young. At twenty, grief-stricken and fatherless, she’s also coping with being the only lesbian she knows after her sweetheart ran off for an unknown reason. Not to mention, she’s the victim of severe digestive problems that everybody thinks she’s faking. When she meets Rivka, an athletic and assertive warrior from the north who wears a mask and pretends to be a man, she finds the source of strength she needs so desperately.
Unfortunately for her, Rivka is straight, but that’s okay — Shulamit needs a surrogate big sister just as much as she needs a girlfriend. Especially if the warrior’s willing to take her around the kingdom on the back of her dragon in search of other women who might be open to same-sex romance. The real world outside the palace is full of adventure, however, and the search for a royal girlfriend quickly turns into a rescue mission when they discover a temple full of women turned to stone by an evil sorcerer.
Cinder Ella by S.T. Lynn
Princess Val reads about more princesses in other lands! Cinder Ella tells the story of a trans black girl who’s invited to the ball and catches the attention of princess Lizabetta. Sweet and magical, this book would make Val swoon all over it.
Ella is transgender. She’s known since she was young; being a woman just fit better. She was happier in skirts than trousers, but that was before her stepmother moved in. Eleanor can’t stand her, and after Ella’s father passes she’s forced to revert to Cole, a lump of a son. She cooks, she cleans, and she tolerates being called the wrong name for the sake of a roof over her head. Where else can she go?
An opportunity to attend the royal ball transforms Ella’s life. For the first time, strangers see a woman when she walks down the stairs. While Princess Lizabetta invited Cole to the ball, she doesn’t blink an eye when Cinderella is the one who shows. The princess is elegant, bold, and everything Ella never knew she wanted. For a moment she glimpses a world that can accept her, and she holds on tight.
She should have known it wouldn’t last. Dumped by her wicked stepmother on the farthest edge of the kingdom, Ella must find a way to let go of the princess and the beautiful life they shared for an hour. She’ll never find her way back. But it’s hard to forget the greatest night of her life when every rose she plants is a reminder.
Marian by Ella Lyons
Another retelling, this time about Robin Hood and Marian. Perfect for lovers of adventures and slow burn romance. Val and Marian may have a weakness for ginger curls in common!
When Marian Banner moves to the glittering city of Nottingham with her father, Sir Erik the Fortunate, her entire life changes. She is no longer allowed to run about the countryside in trousers and braids, climbing fences and shooting turkeys, but is thrust into a life of dresses and jewels and dancing lessons, none of which Marian is particularly pleased about. Her dark mood changes when she meets a tiny whip of a girl called Robin Hood. Robin is fierce and brave, and wants more than anything to become a knight, regardless of her gender. Together they explore the city, becoming fast friends along the way.
As time passes, their friendship into something bigger and scarier and far more wonderful. But then Marian’s father is killed in service to the king and she catches the king’s eye.
Can Robin save her one more? Or will Marian discover how to save herself?
Make Much of Me by Kayla Bashe
Kayla’s writing is always so wonderful and sweet. Val would easily fall in love with the characters of this entertaining book set in the 1920’s about girls who study in a music conservatory.
Irrepressible Lily O’Shaughnessy may have spent the majority of her childhood in bed with tuberculosis- but now that she’s well enough to get up and walk around from time to time, she’s determined to do twice as much living as anyone else. To that end, she runs away from home and enrolls in a music conservatory in glittering, jazzy, wild New York, where she makes fantastic new friends.
But everyone seems to have secrets at the River School. Tommie, a full-figured alto, has an incredible talent for terrible puns- but clams up whenever she’s asked about her childhood. Sardonic pianist Jo seems to have had an idyllic life- but her moneyed Southern family is falling apart, and the absurd last will of a cruel grandfather puts her carefully planned-out future in jeopardy. And then there’s Laura. Impossibly talented, luminously beautiful, Laura is the gentlest, kindest person Lily’s ever met. But an incomprehensible sadness lurks behind her eyes, a strange longing for the many joys of life she’ll never taste…
As the distance between Laura and Lily closes, a strange new desire arises in them both- the desire for love! And when the horrors of Laura’s sordid past rise up at last to claim her and drag her down, only Lily can save her from her tortured self.
A novel of twilight affection and courageous love… a fascinating reimagining of Christina Rosetti’s Goblin Market…A lesbian pulp novel with a happy ending! Jazz! Poodles! An asexual woman in a queerplatonic relationship! Girls being friends! All in the book you never knew your heart needed… MAKE MUCH OF ME BY KAYLA BASHE.
Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee
Val wants to be a heroine someday and she’d definitely love to read about Jess’ journeys on finding herself. The adorable romance in this book would be one of her favorites (also, more ginger curls to love!).
Welcome to Andover, where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, whom Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.
I hope you guys loved this guest post for Ripped Pages by the lovely Maria Hollis as much as I did. Ripped Pages is a Rapunzel retelling and it comes out today, September 22, 2017. You can buy it on Amazon and GumRoad. Don’t forget to follow Maria on her Twitter for more updates on her books and whatnot.