Secret Heart

Image result for secret heart danielle dreger

Secret Heart, Danielle Dreger’s debut novel, strums the angsty heartstrings of its leading ladies: Avery and Madison. On first glance, the two girls could not be more different. Avery is openly queer, a badass rocker, an only child, and far from a star student. Madison is a poster child for perfection: stellar grades, student council President, soccer star, and all-around super nice person. Not that Avery isn’t nice ūüėČ Casual acquaintances for most of their high school lives, their lives intertwine on the inaugural meeting of their school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (Lion Pride).

Senior year can be a crazy time and it’s easy to lose sight of which way points up. The instant chemistry and intense desire surprises both girls. Avery and Madison both face heavy expectations (from bandmates, parents, friends, Lion Pride). They struggle to find a personal balance for their lives after high school and if their burgeoning romance (plus the secrecy that Madison wants) is worth the stress. As I read, I marveled at the elasticity of their hearts. Was the trust worthily bestowed? How much of themselves, of their core being, would they be willing to sacrifice in order to appease others? 

Had I never met the most unreal-ly nice person before reading this book, I would have scoffed at a character so kind-hearted, successful, and popular. Madison’s life, however, is far from perfect and she plays her cards close to her chest. My inner cynic was pacified by the complexity embodied by both leads. They challenge stereotypes (Avery’s affinity for Taylor Swift and marathoning Zac Efron films with her best friend, Scott, for example) and some other surprises. By the end of the story, I was more satisfied with the characters’ personal growth than with their romance.

Secret Heart is a fun, angsty roller coaster of love and self-discovery.

“Avery’s Playlist” (condensed)

Dreger curated the perfect playlist for this book. The song selections in themselves reflect the storyline and emotional roller coaster of teenage romance. It makes me want to record a mix tape from vignettes of my own life. For a full set list, turn to pp. 247-248 of Secret Heart.

Secret Heart

Author: Danielle Dreger

Publisher: DDB Press

Released: October 2016
ISBN (print) 978-0-9977659-1-5                                      

ISBN (ebook) 978-0-9977659-0-8

Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers. Don’t forget to check your local library for availability! A part of the proceeds from every book sold goes to support the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

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Categories: fiction, friendship, lgbt, librarians, romance, young adult | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Safe Passage – audiobook review

Safe Passage [Audiobook]

 

Jules Delacroix, a former Olympic rower, now math teacher & rowing coach at an all-girls high school, inherits her great-aunt’s New Orleans home in the Garden District. She also inherits a safe full of her great-aunt’s secrets. Encoded letters, with what Jules at first mistakes for French, give her an excuse to enlist the translation services of the sexy French teacher, Gen. Once they figure out that the letters are layered in ciphers (drawing out Jules love of and skill at numeric codes) and then in French (not that Gen needs an excuse to stay on with the project; it’s tr√®s intriguing and damn, that Jules is one tantalizing package!). The safe also contains other clues, such as a sketch of a beautiful black woman, a journal, and an antique pistol. Together, the two women develop fantastic chemistry as they delve deeper into the secrets.

Jules receives emotional grounding from her friends Beth and Becs. The rapport between the friends flows naturally throughout the story, infusing the day-to-day, mystery, and romance with love and humor. One of my favorite moments comes when Jules refers to her friend Beth¬†as a “Wal-Mart sports bra of support”. Jules’¬†friend Becs, a New Orleans police officer, calls her¬†“the world’s most useless butch” in college, though Jules is an amazing cook.

E.V. Grove delivers an engaging, enjoyable performance. While I’m not an expert in the differences between regional Southern dialects, Grove’s voice places me among trellises, creeping vines, and humidity.¬†Aside from being a bit quick at the beginning of the story, Grove provides great characterization and tone. Each woman springs to life, radiating charm, uncertainty, teasing, straight-forward, and eagerness.

There are also many instances in which there is not enough space in narration to denote change between sections. However, I think that is likely the result of editing. Overall, the production quality is good, pulling you into the listening experience, rather than popping you out.¬†By the end of the two hours and twenty minutes, Owen’s storytelling and Grove’s narration left me wanting more.

Safe Passage
Kate Owen
Narrated by E.V. Grove
Published by Less Than Three Press and Produced through Audible
Length: 2 hours, 19 minutes
ASIN: B00SLW82PY
Released: January 2015

Available as an audiobook¬†from Less Than Three Press, Amazon,¬†Audible, and¬†iTunes. It is also available as Spanish and French language ebooks! I think that’s a sign to brush up on my French ūüėÄ

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Categories: audiobooks, fiction, lgbt, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Must Love Chickens

must-love-chickens

Jea Hawkins’s charming romance,¬†Must Love Chickens, bonds two women over, among other things, the love of a precocious chicken named Esmerelda. It is Esmerelda who truly tips the scales between Jess Morgan and Natalie Wells, two women who have seemingly nothing in common.

Natalie is at dead ends with her job as director of a small art gallery in New York City. Several exhibitions have failed to generate interest and commissions (the life-blood of the gallery’s existence). Throw in a dash of phoning it in, an ambitious underling… and Natalie finds herself packing up for a job interview as a farm hand at¬†an orchard. Owner and operator of Morgan¬†Orchards, Jess couldn’t be happier with her bountiful McIntosh apple crop. However, the increased work exhausts both her and her long-time hand, Joe. When Jess reviews Natalie’s qualifications, or lack thereof, she is quick to scratch her name off the short (and uninspiring) list of applicants.¬†

At first glance, Natalie and Jess are city and country, two women with lives lived on polar ends of the universe. However, it becomes quickly apparent that both women possess a strong drive and desire for meaningful lives. What starts off for Natalie as just a job, something to exhaust her in mind and body, becomes a surprising avenue for fulfillment and love. The attraction and rapport between them develops easily as they bond over chores and chickens, though their initial assumptions of each other and baggage constantly pull at them. 

While Natalie has fled the trappings (and suffocation) of her city life, she is unable to ignore it. Newly found purpose, love, and confidence help her confront the boogeyman of her life: her grandmother. Jess, on the other hand, drowns out her pain in hard work. What ultimately makes this romance work is that they bring out the best in each other. They try to uncover what they really want out of life, as well as what they are willing to invest in the world.

The cast of rural, community folk give the setting a lived-in feel. Chosen family, Joe and Kate, who works as the orchard’s manager and part-time matchmaker, form a support network for both women and add much needed prodding and levity. Only a few hours from New York City, the town is a small, tight-knit community where folks know you by name and lend a hand if you need it. It’s not without flaws; privacy is often at a premium. Yet, it is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon or a weekend.

Must Love Chickens is the kind of comfy romance that I read with ice cream, tea, and/or pizza (or homemade mac ‘n cheese, etc.), curled up on a futon with my cats. And it doesn’t hurt to imagine Diane Lane in a starring role, either.

Must Love Chickens
Author: Jea Hawkins
Publisher: Wicked Hearts Publishing

Released: November 2016
ASIN: B01N0F3S05

Available from Amazon. Join the discussion on Goodreads!

Categories: lgbt, romance | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

The Next Girl & Other Lesbian Tales

The Next Girl & Other Lesbian Tales

Sexy, suspenseful, and full of surprises, The Next Girl & Other Lesbian Tales features an array of previously published short stories starring women of color. Tawanna Sullivan serves up a sampler platter of genres: erotica, horror, suspense, thriller, fantasy, and romance. This slender volume is the perfect companion for any spare moment or a leisurely morning.

Just Desserts mixes a tryst and voyeurism between two couples stranded at an airport. The Getaway runs off to the countryside in the midst of a murder investigation. How far would you go for the woman you love?¬†Operation Butch Ambush forces two groups with opposing gender ideals (Butch/Femme Preservation Society vs the Toi Bois’ “no matter whom you find yourself attracted to, be fierce enough to admit it and act on it” philosophy) to team up in order to save fellow butches from a reality television show.¬†Famished reminds me of those six word memoirs. Though it’s only a page (a page meaning a Samsung Galaxy 5 screen-sized page), the story follows a relationship’s devolution over sack lunch; the ending offers smug satisfaction. The collection’s titular story, The Next Girl, involves a complicated case of romantic dibs between two friends.

Many of the stories felt like they ended abruptly, the rest of the tale just beyond the precipice. Granted, the author does note that a few are flash fiction pieces. Despite this, Sullivan creates vivid scenes and complex characters. The dialogue and pacing flow easily, adding to the overall immersive, enjoyable reading experience. She is currently at work on her debut novel. I’m excited to see how her talent at the abbreviated short form translates to feature length.

The Next Girl & Other Lesbian Tales
Author: Tawanna Sullivan
tpsulli publications

Released: January 2017
ISBN: 9780998432717
ASIN: B01MS3AKYU

Available from Amazon and Kobo. Join the discussion on Goodreads!

Categories: erotica, lgbt, romance, short stories | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

No Inaugural Flowers

Earlier today, as I was scrolling through my Twitter feed (after watching a bunch of Obama and Biden videos on YouTube this morning), I came across a couple posts mentioning how Trump did not have a poet at his *cough* inauguration. Presidents since JFK have invited poets to speak (although none of them have been of the Republican Presidents) at their inaugurations. I’m far from surprised that someone who revels in being a Philistine would not deviate from his party predecessors.¬†

Poetry is for everyone. Silly, serious, high, low, it speaks to our lives no matter where or who we are. I say 2017 is a year that deserves a flood of poetry. I sprawled on my living room floor this morning, surrounded by wonderful volumes and I felt a little bit better.

Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979), a lauded US poet of the 20th century, would have shone brightly on an any President’s inauguration day. She was a consummate perfectionist, so while I would have loved to hear her read, I can’t imagine her completing (and feeling satisfied with) a new poem in a short period of time. A couple of years ago, I stumbled across Reaching for the Moon, a biopic on her relationship with Lota de Macedo Soares (1910-1967), a Brazilian architect. The film is based on Carmen L. Oliveira’s Rare and Commonplace Flowers: The Story of Elizabeth Bishop and Lota de Macedo Soares. An English translation was published by Rutgers University Press in 2002.

Your library may not have it, but ask if they’ll do an ILL (interlibrary loan) for it. You will hopefully be surprised that your library has not only the means, but the badass and coolness to go through with the request. The film is available on Amazon, Netflix, iTunes, and Vudu.

Poems is a collection of Bishop’s previously published poetry. It includes Questions of Travel (1965), dedicated to de Macedo Soares. “Shampoo” (p.82) is one of my favorites because of the transformation (or rather, the revelation) of the ordinary into the extraordinary. Beautiful reminders to slow down.

The shooting stars in your black hair
in bright formation
are flocking where,
so straight, so soon?
—Come, let me wash it in this big tin basin,
battered and shiny like the moon.

You can borrow this book from your local public library, as well as purchase it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and your neighborhood bookstore.

Categories: history, lgbt, poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Year of Needy Girls

Image result for the year of needy girls

The Year of Needy Girls by Patricia A. Smith is an uncomfortable and compelling look at residents of a small New England town. When ten year-old Leo Rivera is abducted by his neighbor, Mickey Gilberto, from his front yard in the East-side of town and later discovered dead, the people of Brandywine, Massachusetts become frenzied with fear, sorrow, and anger. Soon after his discovery, Dierdre, a French teacher at Brandywine Academy, located on the West-end of town, a private all-girls school, is accused of molesting one of her students. 

The townsfolk, already divided as the East-end and West-end, struggles to process the heinous crime and reconcile it with their differences. A snowball effect sweeps up everyone in its path as tensions rise during the investigations. Most residents of the West-end are affluent caucasians. Their children attend prestigious private schools, such as Brandywine Academy and rarely visit the East-end of town, even if they have a chaperone present. The residents of the East-end are more diverse. Many folks come from primarily working class backgrounds, speak a language other than English in the home, and have family members who immigrated to the United States within a generation or two.

The charges brought against the teacher add pressure to Dierdre’s and¬†Sara Jane’s (SJ) five-year relationship. As the accusations fly, the tenuous threads binding the two women together stretch taut. The fall-out forces both women to confront long-held grievances and desires in their relationship. They also become subject to an attack reminiscent of Anita Bryant’s “Save Our Children” campaign; a challenge they both handle in different ways.

The novel is divided between the perspectives of Dierdre; SJ, a librarian at Brandywine’s East-end branch with¬†a connection to Mickey Gilberto; interludes that focus on the female students of Brandywine Academy; and letters to the editor of the town newspaper. There are marginalized community voices¬†that also surface intermittently.¬†Despite the victim’s home in a Brazilian East-end neighborhood, however, readers are confined to the lens’ of the “needy girls”. “Needy girls”, how Dierdre frequently refers to her students, is applicable to the adults, as well.

The novel deals in perceptions, muddled motives, and doubt. ¬†There are plenty of uncomfortable moments when readers dance up to the edge with Dierdre as she makes observations about students’ lives beyond the classroom and as she examines her own role in the drama. Despite discomfort expressed by characters at the teacher’s devotion to her students’ lives, both in and out of the classroom, Smith does not make it easy for readers to define Dierdre. Smith also brings into play comparisons between the teacher and Mickey Gilberto. On the other side, SJ is isolated in their relationship. Her struggle to find satisfaction and need in her work, to find a place where she isn’t second or third, drives her narrative. However, her part in this tale is not as cut and dry, either.

The Year of Needy Girls¬†revels in ambiguity. At every turn I felt compelled to question my own assumptions, as I judged the protagonists and secondary cast. I’m still mulling over motives and ethical questions raised in the story. Readers who enjoy moral dilemmas and the drama of small town New England life, filled with wonderful detail and told at a snowballing pace, will relish Smith’s debut novel.¬†

***Also, does anyone else think that the woman on the cover looks like Krysten Ritter à la Jessica Jones?***

The Year of Needy Girls by Patricia A. Smith
Published by Akashic Books
Released: January 2017

ISBN-10: 1617754870
ISBN-13: 978-1617754876

Available from Akashic Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers. Be sure to check your local public library for availability.

Join the discussion on Goodreads! Bonus discussion guide available on Akashic Books’ website.

Categories: fiction, lgbt, literary fiction | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Yeeeeeeehaw! Historical Westerns

Now that I’m finally watching HBO’s Westworld, it’s all I can think about. What does it mean to be sentient? It brings up a ton of great questions, none of which are the focus of this post. It did pique my interest, though, in creating a list of historical westerns. Which of these novels belong in the pantheon of western “classics”? Click on any of the links (including the book covers) to learn more about each book.

The queer women in these books are passionate, tenacious, and stalwart. They face mile high odds to love and live the way they want and need to. These badass women are most definitely doing it for themselves and for each other.

Some of books featured below are ones that I’ve read, some are in my closet and await a spare moment, and some I’ve only just discovered while building this list.¬†How many historical fiction novels starring queer women can we round up? If you’d like to help me add to this list in-progress, please share your books in the comments below. Thank you!

montana-feathers

Montana Feathers by Penny Hayes
Publisher: Naiad Press¬†(you’ll be redirected to Bella Books)
Publication date: 1990

High adventure in the old west…romantic and satisfying. An authentic portrait of women finding and loving each other in America’s frontier days. (Goodreads)

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backwards-to-oregon

Backwards to Oregon (The Oregon series) by Jae
Publisher: Ylva Publishing
Publication date: 2013

“Luke” Hamilton has always been sure that she’d never marry. She accepted that she would spend her life alone when she chose to live her life disguised as a man.
After working in a brothel for three years, Nora Macauley has lost all illusions about love. She no longer hopes for a man who will sweep her off her feet and take her away to begin a new, respectable life.
But now they find themselves married and on the way to Oregon in a covered wagon, with two thousand miles ahead of them. (Goodreads)

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the-long-trail

The Long Trail by Penny Hayes
Publisher: Naiad Press¬†(you’ll be redirected to Bella Books)
Publication date: 1986

A lesbian western: Authentic, rip-roaring, fast-moving, and a very sexy adventure. (Goodreads)

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warrior-healer-thief

The Warrior, the Healer, and the Thief
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publication date: 2016

All three [characters] prefer to walk alone, but if they’re going to survive legendary beasts and powerful magic of the unforgiving west, they’ll have to learn that sometimes there’s strength in numbers. (Goodreads)

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bittersweet

Bittersweet by Nevada Barr
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (1999 reprint, as shown on cover featured)
Publication date: 1984

A heart-wrenching, yet tender tale of two women whose boundless devotion to each other is continually challenged in nineteenth century America. (Goodreads)

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distant-thunder

Distant Thunder by Peggy J. Herring
Publisher: Bella Books
Publication date: 2003

When she was very young, Leona Trask’s mother died, leaving her with the task of raising her four younger brothers. Leo yearned to be free, to ride the vast empty spaces of the open West and escape the endless drudgery of running a farm. It was a hard life, and every night she tumbled into bed exhausted to dream of freedom.

Then Cordy rode into her life. A free spirit, a loner, who would take off without warning, Leo resented her for her freedom, yet at the same time Cordy awakened feelings in her–feelings she couldn’t explain or comprehend. As the endless poverty of farm life drew Leo’s father into the outlaw world of train robbing, Leo shouldered more of the responsibility of keeping her little family together–and she burned with resentment that Cordy was part of the gang–treated as equal to the men.

A kiss awakens Leo’s inner passion, and sends her on a journey to find Cordy; a journey that is also one of self-discovery. (Goodreads)

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tumbleweed

Tumbleweed Fever by LJ Maas
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises РYellow Rose Books
Publication date: 2000

In the Oklahoma Territory of the old west, Devlin Brown is trying to redeem herself for a past as an outlaw. Working as a rider on a cattle ranch, she meets Sarah Tolliver, a widow with two children and a successful ranch, but no way to protect it from the ruthless men who would rather see her fail. Sparks fly when the former outlaw teams up with the beautiful, yet headstrong, young Tolliver. (Goodreads)

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sweetwater

Sweetwater series by Mickey Minner
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises РYellow Rose Books
Publication date: 2006

The “respectable” world of an Eastern woman in the late 1800’s, marrying and caring for a family, holds no appeal for Jennifer Kensington. She seeks a life of adventure and challenge. When her request to work in the family business is refused by her father, she leaves for the West, where she is certain she will find a new life in a society where a woman’s options are not so restricted. Jesse Branson has built a good life for herself in Sweetwater, Montana. Skill in a poker game made her the owner of The Silver Slipper, a one time bordello, now a successful restaurant and rooming house. The profits from that business made it possible for her to achieve her biggest dream, to own her own ranch. Jesse is a respected member of the community, but someone is plotting to destroy all of her dreams as well as take her life. Jennifer and Jesse’s attraction for each other grows as intrigue swirls around them. Will their chance for happiness survive as the danger to Jesse unfolds? As they struggle to save Jesse’s life, they also try to save their future. (Goodreads)

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tahoma

Tahoma by Mary Broughton Boone
Publisher: Cape Winds Press
Publication date: 2000

In 1883 in the Washington Territory, Agnes Farwell still mourns the recent death of her father. William Tyrell, her new stepfather, seems intent on destroying the family farm, but when he hires Hope Lawson as governess to Agnes’ four younger siblings, Agnes is surprised at the feelings she has for the young woman. But even as Agnes finds strength to break free of William’s power, he shows he has one more deadly trick up his sleeve. (Goodreads)

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Last Train Home, The - eBook

The Last Train Home by Blayne Cooper
Publisher: Cavalier Press (later prints published through other presses)
Publication date: 2004

Blayne Cooper, the award-winning author of Cobb Island, Echoes from the Mist, and The Story of Me, and co-author of Madam President and First Lady, has once again presented readers with a well-spun tale. The Last Train Home, an endearing and often heart-wrenching story set in the late nineteenth century, will keep you on the edge of your seat. One cold winter’s night in Manhattan’s Lower East side, tragedy strikes the Chisholm family. Thrown together by fate and disaster, Virginia “Ginny” Chisholm meets Lindsay Killian, a street-smart drifter who spends her days picking pockets and riding the rails. Together, the young women embark on a desperate journey that spans from the slums of New York City to the Western Frontier, as Ginny tries to reunite her family, regardless of the cost. In this dramatic saga a solid friendship is forged, one strong enough to endure the trials of an impoverished existence in 1890s America and a quest from which neither woman will back down. It’s those same bonds that form the basis of a tender, and very unexpected, romance. (Goodreads)

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Josie and Rebecca: The Western Chronicles

Josie and Rebecca: The Western Chronicles by B L Miller, Vada Foster
Publisher: Intaglio Publications (reprinted this title in 2005)
Publication date: 2000

At the center of this story are two women; one a deadly gunslinger bitter from the injustices of her past, the other a gentle dreamer trying to escape the horrors of the present. Their destinies come together one fateful afternoon when the feared outlaw makes the choice to rescue a young woman in trouble. For her part, Josie Hunter considers the brief encounter at an end once the girl is safe, but Rebecca Cameron has other ideas… (Goodreads)

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The Grass Widow

The Grass Widow by Nanci Little
Publisher: Madwoman Press
Publication date: 1996

A moving novel of support, friendship and love, set in the tiny frontier community of Washburn Station, Kansas in the year 1876. (Goodreads)

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Categories: fiction, historical fiction, lists | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Secret Diaries Past and Present by Helena Whitbread and Natasha Holme ‚ÄĒ The Lesbrary

secret-diaries

Check 0ut my review at The Lesbrary of this wonderful conversation between Anne Lister historian, Helena Whitbread, and diarist Natasha Holme!

In 2013, British writer and academic Helena Whitbread and diarist Natasha Holme (a pseudonym), met to discuss a subject of mutual interest: diaries written by lesbians in original code. Aside from investigating the connection between two diarists, as stated in the title, highlights include early and adult sexuality, preservation and publication, and obsessive writing. The […]

via Julie Thompson reviews Secret Diaries Past and Present by Helena Whitbread and Natasha Holme ‚ÄĒ The Lesbrary

Categories: nonfiction | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Reading Resolutions for 2017

¬†Oh, reading challenges. I love them, and yet, I fare better with the types of reading challenges that quantify, rather than qualify, my choices. For example, Goodreads only asks how many books I plan on finishing between January and December. That’s pretty straightforward, simple, and, in some ways, not that much of a challenge. I can set the bar at 5 books, if I wanted (I would wither away if I was only able to read five books in a year).

My excuses/reasons for failing to cross the finish line of the 2016 PopSugar challenge are many. I’m like that dog in the Pixar movie “Up”; I get distracted by every book that crosses my path. There are certainly not enough hours in the day for work, commuting, and my myriad of interests. I am also unable to read less than ten trillion books at a time. There is currently one book in my glove compartment of my car; an audiobook in my car’s disc drive and on my smartphone; Analog magazine on my phone for endless lines at the grocery store; eBooks on my Nook; and on and on.

I don’t give myself a hard time for not living up to my own reading standards. It’s supposed to be so many other things above and beyond a mere assignment. I will, however, craft mini challenges for myself that highlight voices and genres I haven’t spent much (if any) time with. And then there is the news… So long 2016!

How about you?

Categories: anthology, audiobooks, erotica, essay, family relationships, fantasy, fiction, friendship, historical fiction, history, Holiday, horror, lgbt, librarians, literary fiction, Memoirs & Autobiographies, nonfiction, novella, paranormal, poetry, primary sources, retellings, romance, romantic friendships, short stories, Uncategorized, young adult | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Holiday Romance

“Baby, it’s cold outside”, so let’s curl up in front the¬†fire with a glass of holiday cheer and a pile of romances! I had a good time marathoning¬†holiday romance movies with my mom the other week, but it would be nice if there was a LGBT version of the Hallmark Movie Channel. Or maybe there is and you would be a wonderful dear if you shared it in the comments below. In the meantime, here is a list of novels, novellas, and short stories that I hope will warm up your December with love, cheer, and hope. I haven’t read all of them yet and this list is by no means comprehensive, but I wanted to share the list I’ve compiled before the season is over. Please help make this list bigger and better by sharing titles (featuring queer women-identified protagonists falling in love with other queer women) I’ve left off, in the comment section below.

the-miracle-of-the-lights

The Miracle of the Lights
Cindy Rizzo
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBNs: 978-3-95533-352-2 (mobi), 978-3-95533-353-9 (epub), 978-3-95533-354-6 (pdf)
Publication date: January 2015

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When her girlfriend, Tova, leaves their upstate New York Hasidic community to avoid an arranged marriage, eighteen-year-old Chava goes in search of her among the hundreds of homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City.¬† Once there, she faces the challenges of life on the street and must reconcile the insulated world she has known with¬†the new and unfamiliar choices she confronts.¬† But nothing else matters‚ÄĒnot the cold, the onset of an illness, or her brush with danger‚ÄĒnothing, except finding Tova. (Ylva Publishing)

 

unwrap-these-presents

One of the great things about this anthology is that 100% of the profits benefit organizations that help homeless LGBT youth in the UK and New York City.

Unwrap These Presents
Various Authors; Edited by Astrid Ohletz and R.G. Emanuelle
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBNs: 978-3-95533-278-5 (mobi), 978-3-95533-279-2 (epub), 978-3-95533-280-8 (pdf)
Publication date: November 2014

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Twenty-three authors of lesbian fiction contributed holiday stories that give you snow, presents, plenty of food, Holiday cheer and nicely wrapped curvy women under the tree. (Ylva Publishing)

 

mama-knows

Mama Knows
Cheri Crystal
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBNs: 978-3-95533-334-8 (mobi), 978-3-95533-335-5 (epub), 978-3-95533-336-2 (pdf)
Publication date: December 2014

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At thirty-five, Rue is settled in her life. She lives at home so she can look after her aging mother, works as a farmhand, and scores with more ladies than the cowboys she hangs with. Why would she search for a place of her own, a permanent job, or a long-term relationship when she already has everything she needs?

But then her mother buys her a trip on a chartered singles’ tour in Europe for Christmas to broaden her horizons. On a bus with a bunch of chatty breeders, Rue is prepared for boredom.

To her surprise, the local culture and history‚ÄĒand a feisty gal named Billie‚ÄĒcapture her interest. As she and Billy share a heated encounter on the ferry to France, Rue begins to think that maybe, just maybe, Mama really knows best.

(Previously published in the anthology Unwrap these presents.) (Ylva Publishing)

the-gift

The Gift
Catherine Lane
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBNs: 978-3-95533-306-5 (mobi), 978-3-95533-307-2 (epub), 978-3-95533-308-9 (pdf)
Publication date: November 2014

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On Christmas morning, Paige finds a mysterious gift for her wife under the tree. The card says it‚Äôs from Paige, but she has no recollection of buying it. Even more curious‚ÄĒstrange noises are coming from other rooms in the house. Opening this gift changes everything in this lesbian romance. (Ylva Publishing)

 

chasing-a-brighter-blue

Chasing a Brighter Blue
Gerri Hill
Publisher: Bella Books

ISBNs: 9781594934698
Publication date: December 2015

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A Christmas wedding in Colorado? A two-week celebration with family and friends? Who does that?

Photojournalist Reagan Bryant has just returned from six month stint in Afghanistan. Haunted by the tragedy that ended her last assignment, she‚Äôs searching for some peace‚ÄĒsomething to end the guilt and chase the trauma away. Two weeks at the resort hotel owned by her future sister-in-law‚Äôs father seems like the perfect escape.

Shelby Sutton doesn’t trust women. They always seem more interested in her father’s money than in her. But at her sister’s request, she vows to make friends with Reagan, a woman whose sad and haunted eyes are nearly impossible to ignore.(Bella Books)

 

love-beneath-the-christmas-tree

Love Beneath the Christmas Tree
Jae
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBNs:978-3-95533-135-1 (mobi), 978-3-95533-136-8 (epub), 978-3-95533-137-5 (pdf)
Publication date: December 2013

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Three short stories that follow the lives of Rachel Lewis, self-confessed Christmas Grump,  and Lillian Coleman, the woman who makes her believe in the magic of Christmas again. (Ylva Publishing)

 

twist-of-the-magi

Twist of the Magi
Caren J. Werlinger
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBN: 978-0-9960368-2-5
Publication date: November 2014

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Christmas is not looking very merry for Penny Havers ‚Äď she won‚Äôt be seeing her family for the holidays; she hasn‚Äôt had a girlfriend in forever; she can‚Äôt get her stories published. When two young women are hired at the shop where she works, Penny begins to think her luck may have changed. Penny is about to learn that, when Christmas works its magic, what you hope for isn‚Äôt always what you get. (Ylva Publishing)

 

fresh-tracks-georgia-beers

Fresh Tracks
Georgia Beers
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

ISBN: 9781933110639e
Publication date: November 2006

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Seven women, seven days. A lot can happen. Childhood friends, new lovers, and old rivals share beginnings, endings, and the uncommon bonds of friendship in a story filled with romance and possibility. (Ylva Publishing)

 

houses

Gingerbread Hearts: Six Lesbian Christmas Stories
Various Authors
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBNs: 978-3-95533-023-1 (mobi), 978-3-95533-022-4 (epub), 978-3-95533-024-8 (pdf)
Publication date: November 2012

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The anthology consists of four new and two republished, re-edited short stories. (Ylva Publishing)

 

all-i-want

All I want for Christmas
Clare Lydon
ISBN: 9781310614231
ASIN: B0178TUVEU
BN ID: 2940153512099

Publication date: October 2015

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Her ideal present under the tree would be a shiny new girlfriend, so Tori gives herself one month to find that special lady by December 25th. Christmas spells romance and she’s going to grab some. (Clare Lydon)

 

puprle-owl

Christmas Eve at the Purple Owl Café
Cora Buhlert
Publisher: Pegasus Pulp Publishing

ISBN
Publication date: December 2014

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After a massive row with her parents over intolerable relatives, Katie finds herself all alone for the holidays. So she heads for the one place in town where everyone is welcome on Christmas Eve, the legendary Purple Owl Café.

The Purple Owl Café has a chequered sixty-year history. These days it’s not just a place for good music and conversation, it also happens to be a lesbian bar.

Katie doesn’t mind, though so far her life was too busy for romance of any kind. But that’s about to change when Katie meets Jess at the Christmas Eve party at the Purple Owl Café… (PPP)

 

all in the seasoning

All in the Seasoning
Various Authors; Edited by Katherine V. Forrest
Publisher: Bywater Books

ISBN: 1932859330
Publication date: 2006

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Celebrate the holidays . . . lesbian style! Celebrate solstice with women journeying along California’s rugged north coast. With a firefighter on the job in New York City. Overlooking a plain, filled with waiting children, north of Los Angeles. Experience Thanksgiving with a lesbian border patrol agent along the Arizona-Mexico border. (Bywater Books)

 

the-bureau-of-holiday-affairs

The Bureau of Holiday Affairs
Andi Marquette
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBNs: 978-3-95533-550-2 (mobi), 978-3-95533-551-9 (epub), 978-3-95533-552-6 (pdf)
Publication date: November 2015

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Executive Robin Preston has dedicated her life to climbing the corporate ladder, using whatever means necessary. In the shark-infested culture at Frost Enterprises, anything goes, and Robin is a master at the game.

On the verge of a major promotion, Robin receives a strange visit from Agent Elizabeth Tolson of the Bureau of Holiday Affairs, who informs Robin that, though Robin may be a lost cause, the Bureau has scheduled her for intervention. Robin will receive three visitors in the two weeks before Christmas, who will escort her on visits to her past, present, and future. (Ylva Publishing)

 

comfort-joy

Comfort and Joy
Karin Kallmaker
Publisher: Bella Books

ISBN: ss032e
Release date: December 2015

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Home from Afghanistan to surprise her mother, Milla doesn’t expect more than the best apple pie in the world and the bliss of unrationed hot showers. She’s not counting on futures‚ÄĒor meeting a woman like Tyna. Novella length romantic holiday story. (Bella Books)

 

christmas-kisses

Christmas Kisses: Five Merry Tales of Lesbian Lust
Various Authors
Publisher: Ladylit Publishing

ISBN: 978-988-14205-3-4
Publication date: December 2015

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’Tis the season to be… frisky. The Ladylit Fab Five have come together once more for a sizzling seasonal mini-anthology. Decorating the tree or working the holiday shift, at a family party or avoiding the shopping crowds, the ladies in these stories find reason to get merry in any circumstance.

Caution: This title contains graphic language and christmassy lesbian sex and is suitable for adults only. (Ladylit Publishing)

yours-for-the-asking

Yours for the Asking
Kenna White
Publisher: Bella Books

ISBN:1594931631
Publication date: 2009

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The responsible one. The steady, reliable one. Lauren Roberts has had her fill of it.

Running her bed-and-breakfast like clockwork and hosting her younger, glamorous, songbird sister for the holidays only underscores Lauren’s choice of order over risk. Kelly’s vibrant and impetuous nature doesn’t stick to anything‚ÄĒor any one woman‚ÄĒfor long. That includes an old girlfriend of Lauren’s who was dazzled by Kelly, then dumped, shortly after Lauren stepped aside.

Old memories are sharply painful with Kelly under her roof. With the inn full, Lauren’s patience and control is stretched to the limit. When Kelly brings home Lauren’s friend Gaylin Hart, Lauren realizes Kelly has again laid claim to something she might well have wanted for herself. It looks like history might repeat itself‚ÄĒif Lauren lets it.(Bella Books)

 

do-you-feel-what-i-feel-a-holiday-anthology

Do You Feel What I Feel? A Holiday Anthology
Various Authors
Publisher: Ylva Publishing

ISBNs: 978-3-95533-546-5 (mobi), 978-3-95533-547-2 (epub), 978-3-95533-548-9 (pdf)
Publication date: October 2015

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Twelve lesbian fiction authors bring you a heartwarming collection of holiday-themed short stories.

From a tattoo artist hiding an origami angel in her lover’s desk to a seventy-year-old woman hesitating to accompany her partner to a family celebration on the first night of Hanukkah, this anthology will delight you with romantic holiday moments. (Ylva Publishing)

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