Rayna Recommends: Diversity

Hey guys, welcome to another installment of my sporadic series, Rayna Recommends! This is a time where I recommend books, movies, and TV shows to you based on the genre or type of books I wanted to talk about.

Today I’m going to recommend to you some of the diverse books, movies, and shows I’ve seen and read. I really enjoy reading and watching this kinds of things, but I still feel like I don’t get enough! With all of the diversity talk that’s been going around lately, I thought that this would be appropriate, so here are my recommendations:

Books

  • None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio is a YA book about a girl who is intersex. Now, I’ve never heard of the term “intersex” until I read this book, and it really opened my eyes to it. It follows a girl who also didn’t know she was intersex until an unfortunate sexual time with her boyfriend that was extremely painful to her and her journey in the beginning stages of accepting who she is and how she can still have a normal life despite it all. It was very interesting and I definitely recommend it.
  • Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Need I say anything more? It’s hilarious, heartwarming, charming, and everything I could’ve asked for in a LGBT+ read and more. Seriously, check this one out. You won’t regret it. It’s about a high schooler named Simon who isn’t out of the closest yet, and how he’s being blackmailed by another kid so his secret is in danger. It’s really awesome, so go read it – right now!
  • My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga has a suicide trigger warning on it, I just want you to know. It’s about a girl who is dealing with a lot of suicidal thoughts and depression, and she meets a kid who also wants to commit suicide with someone else. It follows them and how she realizes how much more life has to offer than what’s going on there. It’s really something very close and personal to my heart and I highly recommend this book.

Movies

  • Beyond the Lights is a movie about a young woman in the music industry who is saved by an officer from committing suicide. The two fall in love and in the process, she realizes that hiding behind all of the makeup, glamor, and fame is so much more to be had. I really enjoyed this movie and thought that it was really well done. Cheesy in a few parts, but overall enjoyable. I love seeing movies with singers/dancers/artists that strive to be their best even when there’s bumps along the way, and to see a cast of colored actors is always awesome as well.
  • Blue is the Warmest Color is an international movie set in France and it follows a girl, Adele, who is discovering who she is as a teen when she meets Emma, a girl with blue hair. The two end up falling in love, but of course there are repercussions in Adele’s life because she was “supposed” to be a straight girl. It’s a really long movie (three hours), and there’s a lot of graphic sexual scenes that I had to turn the volume down on, BUT I really did enjoy it and I really want to see the second part since this is only the first half. It ended on a cliffhanger (kind of) and I need to see how it ends!

TV Shows

  • Orange is the New Black definitely has a diverse cast of characters, and it’s about women in prison. Honestly, that’s a crap ton of diversity if you ask me. Now, I don’t watch OITNB, like, at all, BUT, my husband does and he’s really into it. I’ve watched bits and pieces and from what I gather it’s a really interesting show and one that a lot of people are really into.
  • Good Morning Call is a Japanese drama that’s based off of the manga and it’s adorable and funny and GO WATCH IT. It’s available on Netflix, so really, no excuse. It follows a girl, Nao, and how she rents her dream apartment, but comes to find out she’s stuck with rooming with one of her high school’s hottest guys: Uehara. It’s dramatic, funny, adorable (like I said), so go check it out.

I’m literally drawing blanks now on other movies and shows, but these are just some of the diverse things that I’ve personally enjoyed and that I think you should definitely check out.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

Do you have any recommendations for me for diverse reads, movies, or shows? I’d really love to hear it! Also, have you read/watched any of the items on my list? Let me know your thoughts!

Happy Valentine’s Day

Well, the title states it, but I’ll say it again: Happy Valentine’s Day! This is the day when love is most abundant in the air, Hallmark sells a crap ton of cards, flowers are given to many, and chocolate is much celebrated.

Ah, love. It’s a wonderful thing, really. When I think of love I think of my favorite types of books or movies that incorporate love into their stories. I’m a romantic at heart, so feeding into that love is something that I look forward to expectantly in what I read or watch.

So, for today’s topic I wanted to give you guys a list of some of my favorite couples from books and movies/TV shows that I think are worth checking out. If you love love, then I suggest these various things:

Books

  • Meghan and Ash from The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. They have such a strong relationship that builds as the series progresses and I love the dynamic between them. Plus it has faeries, which are some of my favorite beings to read about, so that’s a plus. But these two battle together and overcome many trials together, though not without difficulty, of course.
  • Maxon and America from “The Selection” series by Kiera Cass. Though I’ve only read the first book I know the ending because it was spoiled for me, but I still love the dynamic between these two. They bring out the best of each other, which does include vulnerabilities, and I really like that about their relationship.
  • Jubilee and Flynn from “This Shattered World” by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. Love, love, love these two so much. A captain and a rebel end up falling in love with one another, though neither of them really admits their feelings to the other. As the story progresses they really become close and know that they are willing to risk their lives for one another. I really loved their story and how they worked together, and how their affection for one another grew over time rather than developed right away.
  • Hazel and Gus from “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. This book was full of heartbreaking and heartwrenching moments, but I loved the relationship these two had. They weren’t just cancer kids, but they had a relationship that grew over time and you could really see their feelings for each other grow in that time.
  • Eleanor and Park from “Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell. Such a cute book. Such a good story. These two grew into a relationship together and that’s what I love about books like this: it’s not just insta-love, it’s a growing, flourishing relationship with one another. These two dealt with a lot of stereotypes and obstacles, but they overcame them one by one.
  • Cath and Levi from “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell. Again, so cute, love this book so much. These two were so different from one another but I think that that was what helped to bring them close together. They’re definitely one of my top OTPs.
  • Elena and Stephen from “The Vampire Diaries” series by L.J. Smith. I haven’t read these books since high school but I remember how much I enjoyed reading about their relationship and how they complimented one another throughout the series rather than completing each other. It was really great to read about and how much their love for one another extended.
  • Miaka and Tamahome from “Fushigi Yuugi” by Yuu Watase. These two went through SO MUCH over the 18 volume span of this manga series. I love them so, so, sooooo much. As my favorite series I couldn’t help but grow with them and love them and watch as they grew together in many ways and how their love for each other grew throughout the series. Truly awesome.

Okay, I could go on and on, but I think that’s a good chunk of a list for now. Now some books I haven’t read yet but have seen the film version of that book, or otherwise, so I’m going to list some of my favorite movie couples that I love:

Movies/TV Shows

  • Noah and Allie from The Notebook. If you love love then you’ll love this movie. Seriously, it tugs on all of the feels you could ever have. My mom watches this movie religiously when it’s on (I’m not kidding) and I love it as well. The relationship these two form, though very rocky, is strong and full of passion. It’s based off of the book by Nicholas Sparks.
  • Landon and Jamie from A Walk to Remember. Again, this tugs on the feels so much. Bad boy meets good girl and bad boy falls in love with good girl. So cute, so cheesy, but so good. Really, these two are a great couple together and it’s just… oh, just watch it. This is also based off of a Nicholas Sparks book.
  • Simba and Nala from The Lion King. Okay, why wouldn’t I throw these two in here? They’re childhood (cubhood?) best buds who grow up together, but get separated, find each other, fall in love, have a falling out, but still love each other and save their kingdom together. I mean really, if they aren’t on your OTP list, put them there.
  • Ron and Hermione from the Harry Potter series. Yes, we love them. Yes, they’re awesome. And of course they make my list (I’m still only on book four, so I have to base this opinion off of the movies). Obviously based off of the books by J.K. Rowling.
  • Emma Swann and Hook from Once Upon a Time. I love this series so much, but I’ve seen how these two act toward each other and omg it’s awesome. It feels like authentic love and I love that about them. Also Mary Margaret and David from this series, too, makes me happy. Love them together.
  • Jamie and Claire from Outlander. Though I’ve only seen the first episode (this lack of cable thing is killing me) I loved them together and I obviously know what happens between them because spoilers on the Internet are extremely hard to avoid. But anyway, these two are just so… perfect together. This is also based off of the book series by Diana Gabaldon, and I do have the first book, I just have to, you know, read it.
  • Bones (Temperance) and Booth from Bones. They’re always picking on each other and always getting under one another’s skin, but they also work well together as a team and I know that they have feelings for one another as the series progresses. I’ve watched this on and off for a few years, but now I’m trying to catch up on Netflix.
  • Richard Castle and Kate Beckett from Castle. They’re so goofy together and know just the right buttons to push to get under each other’s skin, but they also know how the other works and can trust the other to lead them through any given situation.

Okay, a list of eight each, I think that’s good. So those are some of my favorite OTPs and movies/books/TV shows that incorporate love in some way, shape, or form within them. If you love love, then I definitely suggest checking them out.

What are some of your OTPs? Either from books, movies, and/or TV shows – let me know!