contemporary

Lambda Literary 2018 Award Winners

Lambda Literary

Image via Lambda Literary

 

Lambda Literary announced award winners earlier this week at its 30th annual celebration of queer literature. As usual, I have a lot of reading to do after browsing Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Gay, and LGBTQ anthologies in fiction and nonfiction categories. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado and Like Water Rebecca Podos, winners of Lesbian Fiction and LGBTQ Children’s/Young Adult, respectively, are available as fantastic audiobook productions*. This list is drawn from Lambda Literary’s official list of winners. For an even greater swell to your TBR, check out the full list of category finalists.

*Note: I reviewed these audiobooks for AudioFile Magazine.

 

Lesbian Fiction
Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado, Graywolf Press

Gay Fiction
After the Blue Hour, John Rechy, Grove Press

Bisexual Fiction
The Gift, Barbara Browning, Coffee House Press

Bisexual Nonfiction
Hunger, Roxane Gay, HarperCollins

Transgender Fiction
Transcendent 2: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative FictionBogi Takács (ed), Lethe Press

LGBTQ Nonfiction
How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Haymarket Books

Transgender Nonfiction
Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity, C. Riley Snorton, University of Minnesota Press

Lesbian Poetry
Rock | Salt | Stone, Rosamond S. King, Nightboat Books

Gay Poetry
While Standing in Line for Death, CA Conrad, Wave Books

Transgender Poetry
recombinant, Ching-In Chen, Kelsey Street Press

Lesbian Mystery
Huntress, A.E. Radley, Heartsome Publishing

Gay Mystery
Night Drop, Marshall Thornton, Kenmore Books

Lesbian Memoir/Biography
The Fact of a BodyAlexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, Flatiron Books

Gay Memoir/Biography
Lives of Great Men: Living and Loving as an African Gay Man, Chike Frankie Edozien, Team Angelica Publishing

Lesbian Romance
Tailor-Made, Yolanda Wallace, Bold Strokes Books

Gay Romance
Love and Other Hot Beverages, Laurie Loft, Riptide Publishing

LGBTQ Erotica
His Seed, Steve Berman, Unzipped Books

LGBTQ Anthology
¡Cuéntamelo! Oral Histories by LGBT Latino Immigrants, Juliana Delgado Lopera, Aunt Lute Books

LGBTQ Children’s/Young Adult
Like Water, Rebecca Podos, Balzer + Bray

LGBTQ Drama
The Gulf, Audrey Cefaly, Samuel French

LGBTQ Graphic Novels
My Favorite Thing is Monsters, Emil Ferris, Fantagraphics Books

LGBTQ SF/F/Horror
Autonomous, Annalee Newitz, Tor Books

LGBTQ Studies
Punishing Disease: HIV and the Criminalization of Sickness, Trevor Hoppe, University of California Press

 

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Categories: anthology, awards, contemporary, fiction, lgbt, Memoirs & Autobiographies, mystery, nonfiction, romance, short stories, young adult | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Breakthrough by Kris Bryant

Breakthrough

 

“According to one of the tiny maps, there were only five major highways in Alaska. I couldn’t get lost.” – – – famous last words from Kennedy Wells

Celebrity journalist Kennedy Wells’ ends up in Anchorage, Alaska after her magazine editor sends her out to write a cover article on a new reality show. The idea smells like rotten fish, but Kennedy won’t give up a shot at regaining her former beat rubbing elbows with performers and the famous-for being-famous. 

Much of the novel’s humor plays off Kennedy’s unfamiliarity with Anchorage’s great outdoors. She’s more at home on the bustling city streets of LA, dining on catered cuisine and dashing off to her next interview in designer heels. A near-disaster on her first day exploring the area’s scenic byways requires calling in the rescue squad— in this case, a strapping butch park ranger named Brynn Coleman.

Alaska’s Wildlife Rescue and Sanctuary, located outside Anchorage, provides refuge for more than just injured animals. As its director, Brynn finds peace within its lands and her mission to help rehabilitate creatures that cannot take care of themselves. Wally the racoon is a surprisingly endearing character, though readers-as-Kennedy are informed that wild animals, no matter how friendly, are still wild animals. 

The two women cross paths as Kennedy finds herself in the thick of misadventure time and again. As the journalist discovers the appeal of her new environs, she also comes face to face with firmly entrenched body image issues, commitment aversion, and an unexpected career crossroads. One of the main issues at play is how much Kennedy and Brynn, who harbors a closely guarded past, are willing to confront within themselves before they can discover a deeper fulfillment. A small cadre of queer friends (including a local librarian) and colleagues ground the women throughout the story and give Alaska a small town feel, despite the nearly 740,000 population of Anchorage.

Overall, Breakthrough is delivers satisfying romance, amusing adventures, and a surprising, thrilling change of pace in the latter half of the story. The novel’s primary drawback is rooted in telling rather than showing the reader what is happening. There are times when a character’s thoughts are repeated aloud after she thinks them. Recommended for fans of “fish out of water” stories, femme/butch pairings, Great Outdoors immersion, and the television series Northern Exposure

Breakthrough by Kris Bryant
Bold Strokes Books
May 1, 2018

Categories: contemporary, lgbt, netgalley, romance | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Pulp by Robin Talley

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Few books make me feel as giddy as I felt when I learned that Robin Talley penned a young adult novel set in the world of lesbian pulp fiction. Washington D.C. High School senior Abby Zimet struggles with a shaky home life, a complicated relationship with her ex-girl friend, and a nebulous future. When she stumbles across a lesbian pulp novel by Marian Love during research for a creative writing project, her thoughts become increasingly consumed by it and with finding the elusive woman behind the story. 

Tracking down an author, especially a writer of 1950s lesbian fiction, is a near impossible task. Abby learns this lesson quickly: not everything is available online, but human connections remain a powerful channel. If you were a queer female author, you cloaked your identity behind a pseudonym. You didn’t want to be found. Pulp shares the impact of lesbian pulp novels within the context of their time. Queer people were hunted out of government jobs, blacklisted from future employment, and exiled from families they were born into. Authors like Ann Bannon, who later revealed her identity as a pulp writer, wrote their first novels from dens of crumbling heteronormative domesticity.  Patricia Highsmith published The Price of Salt under the name “Claire Morgan”, so as not to derail her nascent mainstream writing career.

Told in parallel narratives, Pulp traces Janet Jones’ pivotal year in 1955 as a teenager in D.C., and Abby’s present-day travails and literary sleuthing. As the story builds, readers see more than just a chasm of differences between the modern teen’s openness with her family and friends as a lesbian, and Janet’s furtive attempts at secrecy. Readers discover threads that not only connect the characters through time, but also reflects the continuity of history and social activism in our own lives. 

Robin Talley delivers an immersive and emotionally engaging novel that rewards repeat readers. Sprinkled throughout are Easter eggs for lesbian history enthusiasts and those eager to learn more about this period in our history. I believe that fiction can be a powerful draw in pulling readers of all ages into a deeper examination of historical events. Talley again creates a compelling story that intrigues and informs. I’ll leave most of the trivia for you to discover when the book is released in November. Hint: Start with Abby Zimet’s name. If you’re new to lesbian pulp, you can find plenty of examples of their covers online. Salacious, technicolor covers make for great magnets and other novelty items.

Pulp by Robin Talley
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release date: November 13, 2018

Further Reading

A major portion of Abby’s journey involves an education in lesbian herstory.  I am especially drawn to mid-20th century queer history and fiction. This bibliography reflects some of the material that I’ve read so far. It is by no means comprehensive or complete. If you have any recommendations for me, please share them in the comments below. I’ve said this before, but someday, I will visit the Lesbian Herstory Archives in New York City.

Nonfiction

Articles & Websites

Fiction

A mix of pulp fiction and novels set in the 1950s (and in New York City, for the most part).


Coloring book bonus!

The Butch Lesbians of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s Coloring Book from Stacked Deck Press is currently out-of-stock, but worth keeping an eye on. 

Categories: booklist, contemporary, historical fiction, lgbt, young adult | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Blend by Georgia Beers

 

Blend

In vino veritas, or, in this case, “in wine bar truth”. Since the death of her husband a few years ago, Ellen Bradshaw has basically lived at Vineyard, the business they started together in their early retirement. When she suddenly announces plans for a solo vacation, Ellen leaves both her daughter Piper and the wine bar’s general manager, Lindsay Kent, in charge. It’s an antagonizing arrangement that starts off sour grapes, but matures into a compulsively readable blend.

Enter “Corporate Barbie” or “Princess Elsa”, two of the nicknames whispered behind Piper’s back. Managing people and productivity as a VP at a tech company are tasks at which she excels. Dealing with painful memories and discomfiting emotions? Not so much. On the other half of the equation is the laid-back, but equally hardworking Lindsay strives to transform the wine bar that turned her life around.  Rocket, her lovable yellow lab and a small group of friends complete her good-enough-for-now life. Romance? Well, that’s just something that Lindsay’s stuffed away in a drawer full of mismatched socks.

As the women spend increasing amounts of time together at the bar and other locales around Black Cherry Lake, they find it impossible to remain at loggerheads. The supporting cast of family, friends, and co-workers deserve major kudos. This contemporary romance shows that sometimes it takes a village to bring two people together. Piper’s frosty demeanor gives way under the warmth of her friend Matthew (a wonderful bear of a kindergarten teacher), Edgar (her mustachioed cat named for Edgar Allen Poe), and older sister Gina. We all need people who love us, warts and all, and aren’t afraid to call us on our shit.

Author Georgia Beers delivers another satisfying contemporary romance, full of humor, delicious aggravation, and a home for the heart at the end of the emotional journey.

Blend by Georgia Beers
Bold Strokes Books, April 2018
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*Netgalley review copy

 

 

Categories: contemporary, fiction, lgbt, romance | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Golden Crown Literary Society 2018 Award Finalists

For the past 14 years, the Golden Crown Literary Society has hosted “The Goldies”, literary awards for lesbian literature in sixteen genres and five special categories. Winners will be announced on July 7th at the awards ceremony in Las Vegas. I’m excited to see so many novels that I’ve enjoyed (as well many more piled atop my TBR shelf) over the past year appear as finalists.

For more information on how books are nominated and considered, head on over to Golden Crown’s website. Click on any title below to learn more about each nominee.

Genre Categories

 

 Anthology/Collections (Fiction)

 

 


Conference Call
, Ann Roberts (ed.), Bella Books

Our Happy Hours, LGBT Voices from the Gay Bars, S. Renee Bess and Lee Lynch (Story Collectors), Flashpoint Publications

 

Combined Non-Fiction

 

 


Fried & Convicted: Rehoboth Beach Uncorked
 by Fay Jacobs, Bywater Books

Grief Map by Sarah Hahn Campbell, Brain Mill Press

 

 Contemporary Romance (Short Novels)

 

 


Bait and Switch
 by Blythe H. Warren, Bella Books

Echo Point by Virginia Hale, Bella Books
Fake it till You Make It by M. Ullrich, Bold Strokes Books
Forget Me Not by Kris Bryant, Bold Strokes Books
Highland Fling by Anna Larner, Bold Strokes Books
Pausing by Renee Mackenzie, Affinity Rainbow Publications
Unbridled by Fox Brison, Bold Fox Publishing
Unexpected by Jenny Frame, Bold Strokes Books

 

Contemporary Romance (Mid-Length Novels)

 

 


Ask, Tell
 by E. J. Noyes, Bella Books

The Butterfly Whisperer by Lisa Moreau, Bold Strokes Books
Delay of Game by Tracey Richardson, Bella Books
Love After Hours: A Rivers Community Romance by Radclyffe, Bold Strokes Books
Nantucket Rose by CF Frizzell, Bold Strokes Books
Night Voice by CF Frizzell, Bold Strokes Books
Right Here, Right Now by Georgia Beers, Bold Strokes Books
Sidebar by Carsen Taite, Bold Strokes Books
What Matters Most by Georgia Beers, Brisk Press
Wishing on a Dream by Julie Cannon, Bold Strokes Books

 

Contemporary Romance (Long Novels)

 

 


Casting Lacey
 by Elle Spencer, Self-Published

Crescent City Confidential by Aurora Rey, Bold Strokes Books
Edge of Glory by Rachel Spangler, Bywater Books
Perfect Rhythm by Jae, Ylva Publishing
Rock and a Hard Place by Andrea Bramhall, Ylva Publishing
The Secret Pond by Gerri Hill, Bella Books
Vacationland by Susan X Meagher, Brisk Press
Who’d Have Thought by G Benson, Ylva Publishing
 

Debut Novel

 

 


Bend
 by Nancy J. Hedin, Anglerfish Press an imprint of Riptide Publishing

Falling into Her by Erin Zak, Bold Strokes Books
Frame by Frame by CJ Murphy, Desert Palm Press
Just Beyond the Shining River by Lynnette Beers, Regal Crest Enterprises
Marriage of a Thousand Lies by SJ Sindu, Soho Press
The Road to Wings by Julie Tizard, Bold Strokes Books
The Square Donut by Lauren Crane, Backyard Bird Publishing
The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera, Tor/Forge Books
The Winter Loon by Lori Henriksen, Cougar Creek Books
 

Erotica

 

 


Her Best Friend’s
 Sister
by Meghan O’Brien, Bold Strokes Books

Party Favors by Jaime Clevenger, Bella Books
This Foreign Affair by Harper Bliss, Ladylit Publishing
 

General Fiction

 

 


Bend
 by Nancy J. Hedin, Anglerfish Press an imprint of Riptide Publishing

Bitterroot Queen by Jove Belle, Dirt Road Books
Changing Perspectives by Jen Silver, Affinity Rainbow Publications
Goldenrod by Ann McMan, Bywater Books
The Price of Cash by Ashley Bartlett, Bold Strokes Books
 

Historical Fiction

 

The Ada Decades by Paula Martinac, Bywater Books
Crossing the Wide Forever by Missouri Vaun, Bold Strokes Books
The Sniper’s Kiss by Justine Saracen, Bold Strokes Books
The Winter Loon by Lori Henriksen, Cougar Creek Books

 
Mystery/Thriller

 

 

A Quiet Death by Cari Hunter, Bold Strokes Books
Forsaken Trust: A Luce Hansen Thriller by Meredith Doench, Bold Strokes Books
Genuine Gold by Ann Aptaker, Bold Strokes Books
The Girl on the Edge of Summer by J. M. Redmann, Bold Strokes Books
Lethal Care by Claire McNab with Katherine V. Forrest, Bella Books       
Taken In by Erica Abbott, Bella Books
 

Paranormal/Horror

 

 

Five Moons Rising by Lise MacTague, Bella Books
Little Dip – Garoul Series Book V by Gill McKnight, Dirt Road Books

 
Poetry

 

 

The Girls with Stone Faces by Arleen Paré, Brick Books
Hanging on Our Own Bones by Judy Grahn, Arktoi Books
Walking Through Turquoise by Laurie MacFayden, Frontenac House Ltd.

 
Romantic Suspense/Intrigue


A More Perfect Union
 by Carsen Taite, Bold Strokes Books

Heart Stop by Radclyffe, Bold Strokes Books
Into Thin Air by Jeannie Levig, Bold Strokes Books
Letter of the Law by Carsen Taite, Bold Strokes Books
Lucy’s Chance by Jackie D, Bold Strokes Books
Mine to Keep by Wendy Hudson, Ylva Publishing
Moment of Weakness by KG MacGregor, Bella Books
The Road to Wings by Julie Tizard, Bold Strokes Books
The Scholarship by Jaime Maddox, Bold Strokes Books
 

Science Fiction/Fantasy


Ardulum: Second
 Don
by J.S. Fields, Ninestar Press

The End by Roselle Graskey and Cheyne Curry, Bossy Pants Books
Erased by Robbi McCoy, Bella Books
Fury’s Choice by Brey Willows, Bold Strokes Books
House of Fate by Barbara Ann Wright, Bold Strokes Books
Phoenix Rising by Rebecca Harwell, Bold Strokes Books
Seoul Circuit by Tamara Boyens, Supposed Crimes
Shattered by Lee Winter, Ylva Publishing
Spark by Catherine Friend, Bold Strokes Books

 

Young Adult


Girls Like Me
 by Nina Packebush, Bedazzled Ink Publishing

Sovereign by April Daniels, Diversion Books
The Square Donut by Lauren Crane, Backyard Bird Publishing

 

Special Categories

 

Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award

 

An Outsider Inside by R.J. Samuel, Self-Published
Edge of Glory by Rachel Spangler, Bywater Books
Goldenrod by Ann McMan, Bywater Books
Our Happy Hours, LGBT Voices from the Gay Bars, S. Renee Bess and Lee Lynch (Story Collectors), Flashpoint Publications
Perfect Rhythm by Jae, Ylva Publishing
Right Here, Right Now by Georgia Beers, Bold Strokes Books
Sappho’s Bar and Grill by Bonnie J. Morris, Bywater Books
Strawberry Summer by Melissa Brayden, Bold Strokes Books
Time’s Rainbow: Writing Ourselves Back into American History, Lori L. Lake & Christopher Hawthorne Moss (eds.), Launch Point Press

Directors’ Award – TBD

Lee Lynch Classic Award – TBD

Tee Corine Award for Outstanding Cover Art


The Ada Decades, Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio, Bywater Books
An Outsider Inside, Ann McMan, Treehouse Studio, Self-Published
Buried Heart, Melody Pond, Bold Strokes Books
Close to Home, Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio, Bywater Books
Edge of Glory, Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio, Bywater Books
Goldenrod, Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio, Bywater Books
On a LARP, Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio, Bywater Books
Our Happy Hours, LGBT Voices from the Gay Bars, Ann McMan, TreeHouse Studio, Flashpoint Publications

Trailblazer Award – TBD
 

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In the Queue: Audiobooks on my shelf

Having stacks of unread books strewn about my apartment has never stopped me from saying yes to another armload at the store. Same goes for audiobooks. I’ve amassed a decent digital pile, ensuring no more lonely nightsIf you asked me what I plan on listening to next, I’d have a hard time coming up with an answer because it all sounds good. Earlier this week I wandered around my neighborhood, surrounded by an international buffet of restaurant choices, and had a hard time deciding what to fill my growling stomach with… I also tend to come up with several reasons why that book or that book or that one over there is the one for me right now, when faced with a Willy Wonka world of choices. But, since I’m currently listening to a longer fantasy and reading multiple paperbacks and ebooks, I’d choose Leslie Odom, Jr.’s inspirational 3 1/2 hour memoir Failing Up.

So, while I get cozy, I’d like to know what’s languishing on your Audible bookshelf (or wherever your eAudiobooks call home). Are you also maddeningly indecisive like me?

 

 

 

Categories: audiobooks, contemporary, humorous, lgbt, Memoirs & Autobiographies, mystery, romance, series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Charming the Vicar – audiobook review

Charming the Vicar cover art

 

“Axdale had a gay, female vicar in heels and a biker jacket. Had she walked into the Twilight Zone?”

This audio edition of Jenny Frame’s Charming the Vicar pulls you into a journey of heartache and loss on the way to love and healing. Famed mentalist and avowed atheist Finnian Kane has no idea what she’s in for when she selects the small English village of Axedale as her retreat from the world and her sorrows. Not thwarted by a chilly reception to her doorstep one-woman welcome committee, Reverend Bridget Claremont engages Finn in discussions and activities. I’ve listened to and read few queer romances  in which faith plays an important role in the characters’ lives. The ways in which Bridget’s Christian faith and Finnian’s deep disdain for religion play out separately and together is thoughtfully done. As you listen, you won’t find that one way is the only way. Faith and sexuality are partners in the journey of this story.

Attraction between the women build, smoldering and sparking, though the Church prevents Bridget from having relationships with women. Nicola Victoria Vincent delivers wonderful characterization of leads and supporting cast, though her delivery sounds hurried at times. She heats up sex scenes, stepping into Mistress Black (Bridget’s buried persona) in much the same way that Bridget dons her persona and attire, with firm and sensual tones. Finn’s need also amplifies these scenes as she pleads and takes. Take some time for yourself and enjoy this delectable blend of sweet and spicy! 

See Courting the Countess for more Axedale romance!

Charming the Vicar by Jenny Frame
Narrated by Nicola Victoria Vincent
Produced by Bold Strokes Books
Length: 7 hours, 49 minutes
Release date: January 2018

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Lesbian Book Bingo square: Age Difference

 

Categories: audiobooks, contemporary, lgbt, romance | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cracking Love by Emily King: a review

Cracking Love by Emily King

 

Cracking Love by Emily King
Release date: February 15, 2018
Publisher: Bella Books
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Is love all that it’s cracked up to be? Does it make you go a bit nutty? Have sour experiences made your heart a tough nut to crack? Okay, okay…okay, I’ll stop with the delightful nut puns (for now) and talk about Cracking Love, Emily King’s debut romance. Janet Webber feels burned out by constant travel and low satisfaction she gets from her new job as a regional pharmacy manager. Newly relocated to a small California town, she chats up an airport shuttle driver and ends up invited to a house party. Mingling and noshing on BBQ, Janet meets other local lesbians and L.A.-based friends of the host couple. However, she only has eyes for walnut & veggie farmer, Gail Lawrence. The two hit it off, but personal baggage gets in the way.

Along the way to love, Gail grapples with deeply rooted issues of mistrust and the prospect of losing clients for her produce. Trust issues arising from past partner infidelity and gold digging college girlfriends creates much of the drama separating Janet and Gail from HEA with each other. Line dancing connects the women to their community, to each other, and to themselves. This is especially true for Janet. It mirrors the steps they learn as they negotiate relationships and careers. Once you figure out the basic step combinations, you can move on to more complex patterns with confidence.

Quick pacing makes this story easy to devour in a sitting or two.  I chalked up their expedited pairing to deep thirst for emotional and romantic validation. The intensity of their feelings clashes often with what they want and with their insecurities. Ultimately, Janet and Gail seem to balance each other out. In-between flights for work, tending to crops, and line dancing lessons, there is a lot of steamy bedroom scenes. It’s an enjoyable debut romance, overall. If you’re looking for romance set in small towns, women that work with their hands, midlife career changing magic, and some boot scootin’ boogie, then this just might be up your alley.

Hungry Reads

Eat with snacks nearby! All the talk of walnut bars and candies had me craving the praline treats I ate in New Orleans last year. I can’t vouch for any of these recipes (yet), but here are a handful of walnut bar and candied walnut recipes I found via Allrecipes.com and Martha Stewart. I wonder if author Emily King has a stash of go-to baking recipes…

 

 

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

Holiday Romance 2017

 

Happy holidays everyone! I’m in the midst of creating stocking stuffers full of winter seasonal cheer. Today I’m sharing holiday romances that will keep you warm as we stroll towards the Winter Solstice and indulge in festivities with loved ones, colleagues, and ourselves. Although I’m posting this now, it is by no means finished. I’ll try to add more books (published within the last five years) to future lists as I discover them. Until then, happy listening!

As always, I would love to hear about holiday romances that you’ve enjoyed! Please share them in the comment section below!

 

That Old Emerald Mountain Magic: A Christmas/Holiday (2017) by Cara Malone
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“Carmen hasn’t had snow on Christmas in ten years. Her family has grown accustomed to beaches and extravagant tropical vacations, but she still remembers the snow in Massachusetts when she was a kid. When her dad decides to book a cabin in the idyllic, snow-capped mountains of Colorado for Christmas, the rest of the family is skeptical – why trade palm trees and warm weather for a snowbound ski resort? Carmen’s in the same ‘bah humbug’ mood until she meets the impossibly optimistic, endlessly intriguing Joy and their worlds collide – quite literally – on the slopes. Joy has lived her whole life on Emerald Mountain and watched a lot of people come and go through the resort town. She has learned to expect a certain amount of impermanence here, but Carmen makes her hope for more than just a vacation romance. Can Joy help Carmen and her family rediscover the true spirit of Christmas?”  via Amazon


Eitan’s Chord: A Lesbian Fairy Trio for Chanukah
by Shira Glassman
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“Fairy magic requires fairy intimacy, so when the three Chanukah fairies—cute butch Latke, enthusiastic party girl Dreidl, and their elegant leader Menorah—decide to help an impoverished young couple, a fairy romp is in order! Eitan, a trans man, and his cis wife Abigail work retail and live on love in a studio apartment with broken blinds. If only Abigail’s beaded jewelry would sell online, they’d have a little more cash, but nobody’s biting. While they sleep, the fairies bring the miracle they’re looking for. This story features spicy behavior and is not for children.” via Amazon

 

A Christmas for Carol (2017) by Emily Sharp
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“A modern spin on a beloved Christmas classic. After the passing of her best friend, Jacqueline Marley, Elizabeth Scrooge heads up the powerhouse financial firm of Marley and Scrooge. Bitter and angry, love is the furthest thing from her mind. But then she hires a new employee. Carol Cratchit is looking forward to her new job as the personal secretary to Ms. Scrooge. Despite the simmering sexual tension which heats up between them both, Carol couldn’t ever imagine being with someone so cold and heartless. When Scrooge hires Carol to help her with a personal issue outside of work, Carol reluctantly agrees. But with each meeting, Carol begins to see past the hard exterior and sees something inside of Elizabeth that she has been longing for. For a miracle to happen this Christmas, and give the Happily Ever After both need, Elizabeth and Carol have to look into the past, focus on the present, and find the magic they both need for the future.” via Amazon

 

Winter’s Solace (2017) by Magnolia Robbins
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Katlynn Walker thought she had it all: a dream job in Silicon Valley. A beautiful California beach house. The love of her life. But her world crumbled beneath her feet the moment she found her best friend in bed with her fiancé. Desperate to escape her harsh new realities, Katlynn flees to her Massachusetts hometown of Wellesley, to spend Christmas at her sister’s cottage. Finding a new love was the last thing on her agenda, but when Katlynn reconnects with an old friend, everything she thought she knew about herself and her future is called into question. Iris’ life changed the minute her mother got sick. With her quiet, cozy world in Wellesley suddenly turned upside-down, there’s no room for more complications — especially not the resurgence of a college crush she thought she’d put out of her mind long ago. But when she finds herself spending the holidays next door to her old classmate Katlynn, Iris can’t ignore the chemistry between them. As the two women navigate their separate heartaches, will they crack under the pressures of life around them? Or can their new bond save them both? via Amazon

 

Snow Globe (2013) by Georgia Beers
Brisk Press
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“Mackenzie Campbell has no idea her life is about to fall apart. She’s bright and attractive with a good job, a comfortable home and an impending Christmas wedding she’s been planning for months. So when her girlfriend bails less than two weeks before the nuptials, Kenzie’s picture perfect Christmas world is turned upside down. Determined to hold on to at least some shred of her dignity, Kenzie snags her best friend, Allison, and flees the cold of the Northeast to take the honeymoon anyway. The Rainbow’s Edge is an enormous LGBT resort in Southern Florida, and its atmosphere of sun and fun seems to be just what Kenzie needs to help take her mind off of her lost relationship. But can a few hot dances, a mysterious suitor, and a handful of rum runners help her figure out what it is she really wants?” via georgiabeers.com

 

A Holloway Holiday (2016) by Voss Porter
Dark Hollows Press
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“Under the stress of the holidays, can Cara Spencer and Dre hold it together? Or do they need a little Holloway Holiday magic? At the behest of her brothers, Cara Spencer Holloway picks up the mantle of holiday entertaining, left behind in the wake of her parents’ untimely death, but now she’s beginning to second-guess her every decision. What if she can’t measure up to the memories? What if her brothers don’t think she’s good enough? And why in the world has her partner, Dre Martin, been acting so strangely? Join the Holloway clan as they realize all they truly need is a little holiday magic!” via Amazon

 

Mistletoe Mishap (2017) by Siri Caldwell
Brussels Sprout Press
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“Ready…set…yes! It seems like a simple challenge: who can make the other person take the Lord’s name in vain the loudest and the most often with the least clothes on before Christmas. With only twelve days to prove that all those years together do not mean she’s forgotten how to goad the love of her life into unbuttoning her own blouse, Kendra has no time to waste. If only Viv played fair… Will mental arithmetic, a little too much coffee, and mistletoe threaded through belt loops help two science professors laugh and love their way through the holidays?” via Amazon

Christmas Cakes (2017) by Anne Hagan
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When Hannah Yoder left the Amish order at 17, she didn’t know what life had in store for her. She just knew she wanted to be free to be herself. Four years later, with the support of a loving family of choice, an adopted son entering full-on toddlerhood and a new bakery starting to do well, she felt like she had almost everything. Almost. After a previous relationship fizzled out over different life goals, she decided to focus on her son, her business and completing culinary school before she gave any more thought to finding someone new to share her life with. Morgan Barber has secrets. She hopes culinary school will be her ticket out of the life she hides from the world; a life she wants so desperately to leave behind. With her home life a constant nightmare, a career in chef’s whites seems like a beautiful dream. She doesn’t dare dream of anything beyond that for herself. Assigned to work on a Christmas cake baking project together, the two young women are reluctant at first but then they begin to form a bond. Just when Hannah thinks she may have found a spark of the one thing missing in her life; that maybe she can have a relationship with Morgan, the other woman draws away and contemplates changing course entirely.

Categories: booklist, contemporary, fantasy, fiction, Holiday, novella, romance, seasonal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Right Kind of Wrong – audiobook review

right kind of wrong

 

Narrator Paige McKinney infuses BFFs Quinn Burke and Grace Everett’s friends to lovers dilemma with all of the baggage of their twenty years together. Her warm performance reflects the mostly sure and satisfied women’s personalities, a blend of confusion and determination mixed in. When the two women first met, co-working at a grocery store, Grace was more interested in having at least one close friend than in having yet another girlfriend. Life has reached a phase, however, in which Grace is looking to settle down with a woman who meets at least some of her standards, someone in the ballpark of “good enough”. Besides a satisfying job owning and operating a bookstore, great friends, and loving grandparents, she doesn’t want for much. Quinn, for her part, enjoys tending bar, Sunday brunch with her mother and Grace, and, for the time being, avoiding potential heartbreak. The women’s relationship is a slow burn romance that neither wants to acknowledge. After all, doesn’t every pair of bosom buddies complete each other’s sentences? When Quinn’s mother suffers a major heart attack, it acts as the catalyst for resolving bad blood and buried desire.

The cast of family, friends, and lovers, is wonderfully portrayed. Beth, Quinn’s homophobic older sister comes across as extreme and ridiculous in her prejudices through McKinney’s narration. Through raised pitch and clipped haughtiness, McKinney leaves listeners with no doubts as to who Beth thinks has the moral high ground in the family. Meg, the other estranged sister, is voiced in softer tones as her relationship with her younger sisters, Quinn and Callie, evolves. And Callie, the baby of the family, says what she means and means what she says, the lack of hesitation and fierceness of her love reflected in her the narrator’s tone and pacing. Family, whether it is the one that the characters are born into or the ones they make over a lifetime, is everywhere and everything in this story. 

The Right Kind of Wrong is a pleasurably frustrating, comfy, and relatable romantic journey between two longtime friends. It’s a great production, one which I hope you’ll enjoy, too.

The Right Kind of Wrong (2017) by PJ Trebelhorn
Bold Strokes Books
Length: 6 hours, 49 minutes
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Categories: audiobooks, contemporary, fiction, lgbt, romance | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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