fiction

AudioFile Magazine’s Best of Fiction 2017

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Every year, AudioFile Magazine reviews countless audiobooks and distills them into a “Best Fiction of 2017” list. Does it seem like a Sisyphean task, especially when every week more books are released? Maybe. Yet, here they are with a “stocking” full of audio treats that you can listen to and share with family, friends, co-workers, the barista at your favorite coffee shop… You can read reviews of this year’s best fiction by clicking on the book titles below. Check out other category lists on the AudioFile eZine!

On Omnivore Bibliosaur I write about queer works, however I also contribute audiobook reviews to AudioFile Magazine. Since June, I have listened to a wide range of fiction and nonfiction books for teens and adults. I did not, however, review any of the “Best of Fiction” titles listed below. If you have any favorites that did not make this list, I would love to hear about them in the comment section below! I’m also interested in what you think should appear on a 2017 “best of queer fiction” featuring female protagonists. Happy listening!

 

THE ESSEX SERPENT by Sarah Perry, read by Juanita McMahon
*Listen to a preview on AudioFile’s SoundCloud!
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

 ANNE BOLEYN: A KING’S OBSESSION by Alison Weir, read by Rosalyn Landor
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

BEARTOWN by Fredrik Backman, read by Marin Ireland
*Listen to a preview on AudioFile’s SoundCloud!
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

 

 

FIVE-CARAT SOUL by James McBride, read by Arthur Morey, Nile Bullock, Prentice Onayemi, Dominic Hoffman
*Listen to a preview on AudioFile’s SoundCloud!
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

FOREST DARK by Nicole Krauss, read by Gabra Zackman
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

THE GOLDEN HOUSE by Salman Rushdie, read by Vikas Adam
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

ISADORA by Amelia Gray, read by Jen Tullock
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

LINCOLN IN THE BARDO by George Saunders, read by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, George Saunders, and a Full Cast
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

MANHATTAN BEACH by Jennifer Egan, read by Norbert Leo Butz, Heather Lind, Vincent Piazza
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

 

THE REASON YOU’RE ALIVE by Matthew Quick, read by R.C. Bray
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

REFUGE by Dina Nayeri, read by Mozhan Marno, Youssif Kamal
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

THE RULES OF MAGIC by Alice Hoffman, read by Marin Ireland
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

 

SING, UNBURIED, SING by Jesmyn Ward, read by Kelvin Harrison Jr., Rutina Wesley, Chris Chalk
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

TRAJECTORY by Richard Russo, read by Amanda Carlin, Arthur Morey, Fred Sanders, Mark Bramhall
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

WHITE TEARS by Hari Kunzru, read by Lincoln Hoppe, Danny Campbell, Dominic Hoffman
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

 

 

Exclusive Narrator Videos on YouTube

Curious about what it’s like behind the microphone? Narrators Vikas Adam and R.C Bray discuss their experiences working on The Golden House and The Reason You’re Alive, respectively.

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Categories: audiobooks, booklist, fiction, lists | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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
Join the conversation on Goodreads!

“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
Join the conversation on Goodreads!

“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
Join the conversation on Goodreads!

“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
Join the conversation on Goodreads!

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
Join the conversation on Goodreads!

“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
Join the conversation on Goodreads!

“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
Join the conversation on Goodreads!

“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

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
Join the conversation on Goodreads!

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

Fiction for Foodies

I’m thankful for a million people, places, and things, but when it comes to the holidays food is always my main squeeze. Feel awkward? Family overload? No football game? There’s always a comforting smorgasbord of delicious savory and sweet baked goods waiting on stand-by (I love you olives, rolls, and pumpkin pie!).

What butter….er…better booklist could I share than one in which food plays an integral role in the story? If you have some tasty reading recommendations, please share them in the comment section below 🙂

 

Perfect Pairing

Perfect Pairing (Bywater Books, 2016) by Rachel Spangler
Join the conversation on Goodreads!
Big business & food truck dynamo clash over delivery, but find themselves sandwiched together.

 

a little bit of spice starting from scratch

Starting from Scratch (Brisk Press, 2010) by Georgia Beers
An oven full of cookies leads a graphic designer where she least expects.

A Little Bit of Spice (Brisk Press, 2015) by Georgia Beers
Sales manager for a family brewery tries for a supermarket sweep of a regional chain.
Join the conversations on Goodreads! (1) (2)

 

Chef Cute Girl give me some sugar

Chef Cutegirl (2016) by Nicolette Dane
The competition heats up between two reality cooking show contestants in “Chef Cutegirl”

Give Me Some Sugar (2017) by Nicolette Dane
Struggling bakery owner & business consultant try to salvage the crumbs in “Give Me Some Sugar”.
Join the conversation on Goodreads!
(1) (2)

 

confucius jane katie lynch cover

Confucius Jane (Forge Books, 2016) by Katie Lynch
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Romance blooms over noodles and fortune cookies in New York City’s Chinatown.

 

the roundabout gerri hill

The Roundabout (Bella Books, 2016) by Gerri Hill
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Parking spaces and lovelorn denizens of a queer community conspire for some faux-mance between a new business owner and popular restaurateur.

 

all you can eat order up

All You Can Eat (2014) & Order Up (2016) from Ylva Publishing
Join the conversations on Goodreads! (1) (2)
Collections of salty, sweet stories for insatiable readers.

 

side order of love

Side Order of Love (Bella Books, 2009) by Tracey Richardson
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Cooking superstar caters a golf tournament. Can love compete with a missed vacation?

 

Half Baked by Edie Bryant

Half Baked (2017) by Edie Bryant
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Could this be an Imagine Me & You situation, but with cake? 

 

chef special

Chef’s Special (Brisk Press, 2016) by Susan X. Meagher
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Can dreams withstand the heat of a professional grade kitchen?

 

Taste

Taste (Bold Strokes Books, 2016) by Kris Bryant
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Can a romance between a culinary instructor and student last longer than forty-five minutes, 375 degrees? Will their shared ingredients bind them or separate as the course cooks?

 

sugar

Sugar (Bella Books, 2004) by Karin Kallmaker
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Will the bake-off pay off, for both heart and wallet?

 

first course ja armstrong

First Course (2017) by J.A. Armstrong
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Business and pleasure go on a date at this fledgling restaurant.

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

Magical Herstory Tour: Sappho’s Bar and Grill

SBG cover

love history, especially women’s history, especially queer women’s history. Author and professor Bonnie J. Morris blends fiction with her vast experience collecting and writing about history. The result is an immersive, unforgettable journey. As LGBT+ History Month draws to a close (and really, it’s all year round because we’re making it everyday), this is the perfect way to celebrate.

On a cold and lonely Valentine’s Day, Women’s History professor Hannah Stern half jests that women’s history will be her date. Sappho’s is like a queer Cheers for women. Whether or not everyone knows your name yet, it’s a bar where all are welcome. Isabel, friend-owner-barkeep extraordinaire, spreads more than just good cheer with her seemingly magical cocktails. Over the course of the year, Hannah connects with famous women on holidays and special events. All it takes it a touch or a taste to trigger an encounter. She discovers far more about the women she esteems in her lectures and course assignments. 

Sappho’s Bar and Grill is a wonderful treat for readers who enjoy delving into the lives of their foremothers and recognizing the heroines among us today. Hannah’s journey through past and present provides vicarious experiences for those of us who would love just one minute with the women who have impacted our lives. 

Sappho’s Bar and Grill by Bonnie J. Morris
Bywater Books, July 2017
Join the conversation on Goodreads!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Food for thought:

  1. Who would you visit that isn’t in this book?
  2. What advice would you offer via postcard?
  3. What advice do you wish you had received?
  4. Have you ever been inspired to get a tattoo (like Hannah and her Sappho tattoo)?
  5. Invite three historical women to dinner. Who and why?

 

 

Categories: fantasy, fiction, history, lgbt | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Passing Strange – Bi the way

Books with bisexual main characters are underrepresented in my reading life. It’s one of my goals this year to remedy that, but when I look through the dozens of novels I’ve enjoyed so far this year, a negligible percent are by and/or about bi folks. Last month, though, I stumbled upon a review in Bookmarks magazine…

Image result for passing strange book

Passing Strange is an engrossing story about a circle of queer women in San Francisco, 1940.  The novel opens on an elderly Helen Young, the last surviving member of her group of friends. She leads us through the alleys of Chinatown, on a mission to retrieve an invaluable object. 

The novel then shifts back to 1940, where we meet Emily, (a college drop-out with all the right night moves), Helen (a Japanese-American lawyer who moonlights as a dancer in Chinatown), Haskel (a painter whose chalk strokes bring lurid magazine covers to life), and others. 

Events quickly unfold, flowing organically from one section of the story to the next. Though the novel centers on Haskel and Emily, San Francisco is reflected through the other women’s lives. When shit hits the fan, each woman must draw on their talents and make difficult decisions. 

It’s wonderful tale of friendship, love, place, seasoned with subtle infusions of magic. I couldn’t put it down. Ellen Klages’ vivid depictions of the City by the Bay and the high stakes involved with living queer lives in the 1930s and 1940s, enthralled me from cover to cover.

Categories: fiction, friendship, historical fiction, lgbt, romance | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Marriage of a Thousand Lies – audiobook review

Marriage of a Thousand Lies Audiobook

Narrator Emily Woo Zeller guides Lakshmi “Lucky”, a first generation Sri Lankan-American, through a myriad of tangled decisions. After Lucky’s mother disowns her in college after finding text messages that Lucky exchanged with a former girlfriend, the distraught student makes a deal with a gay college friend, Krishna, to get married. The couple pays a steep price in order to retain family ties and approval. Marriage of a Thousand Lies grapples with a myriad of complex topics, weaving them into a compelling narrative. Cultural and generational divides, the needs of family and self, and race and sexuality, are the realities that Lucky navigates in SJ Sindu’s recent novel. Ultimately, Lucky must decide if a life built on lies is one she can live with…

Woo Zeller invokes the potent mix of emotions roiling through Lucky after she moves in with her mother to care for her ailing grandmother and reconnects with her best friend on the eve of an arranged marriage. Lucky’s family and friends are equally vibrant in their characterizations; Woo Zeller’s intuitive use of tone, pacing, accents, and energy, infuses the story with additional depth and nuance. All around her, Lucky sees different ways of being. Whether it’s her mother, who fled Sri Lanka in the early 1970s as civil war erupted, and retains strong cultural ties to her homeland; or Lucky’s sisters, who also struggle with reconciling their multicultural identities; or Nisha’s agony over choosing between her family and the woman she loves. As a listener, you feel all of these conflicting paths and emotions, and the richness of their lives and relationships all the more keenly. 

Marriage of a Thousand Lies by SJ Sindu
Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
Produced by HighBridge, a Division of Recorded Books
Length: 7 hours, 45 minutes
June 2017

Available from Amazon/AudibleBooks-a-Million, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers.  Join the discussion on Goodreads!

Categories: audiobooks, family relationships, fiction, lgbt, literary fiction | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Coffee Connections: A booklist

Most mornings before I head out to work, I brew up a pot of Yuban and pour it into my trusty Stanley thermos. It’s as much a part of my day as getting dressed. This beloved and essential morning ritual goes well with both solitude and company. 

For example, my idea of a perfect first date or family gathering starts with a cup of coffee. If nothing else goes right, at least there’s a steaming (or chilled or frozen) coffee concoction to enjoy. Throw in a good book and its game over perfection! The characters in the stories below geek out on B-grade sci-fi flicks, grapple with long-distance, attempt to run a cafe while still attending high school, and much more. Just add coffee. 

long macchiatos and monsters

Long Macchiatos and Monsters (Geek Out: A Collection of Trans and Genderqueer Romance) by Alison Evans
Published by Less Than Three Press
Available from Less Than Three Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble.  Join the discussion on Goodreads!

“Jalen, lover of B-grade sci-fi movies, meets the far-too-handsome P in a cafe while deciding whether or not to skip uni again. When P invites them along to a double feature of Robot Monster and Cat Women of the Moon, Jalen can hardly believe that hot boys like bad sci-fi, too. But as their relationship progresses, Jalen realizes P leaves them wondering if they’re on the same page about what dating means, and if that’s what they’re doing.” – from Less Than Three Press

coffee date

Coffee Date by K. Lynn
Published by Less Than Three Press
Available from Less Than Three PressAmazon, Barnes & Noble, Smash Words.  Join the discussion on Goodreads!

“Alice is finally happy with her body and her life—except for the part where revealing she’s trans winds up leaving her hurt and abandoned over and over again. She’s decided she’s done making herself miserable by looking for love.

Love finds her anyway, in the form of Hank, the new guy at her local coffee shop. He’s sweet, friendly, charming… and will probably turn out like all the rest. Determined not to shatter the fantasy and lose him before she has to, Alice holds fast to her secrets. 

But if the truth doesn’t ruin everything, the lies will, and it seems no matter which choice she makes Alice is set for just one more heartache.” – from Less Than Three Press

Get it together delilah

Get it Together, Delilah! by Erin Gough
Published by Chronicle Books
Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers.  Join the discussion on Goodreads!

Originally published as The Flywheel in Australia, 2015.

“Seventeen-year-old Delilah Green wouldn’t have chosen to do her last year of school this way, but she figures it’s working fine. While her dad goes on a trip to fix his broken heart after her mom left him for another man, Del manages the family cafe. Easy, she thinks. But what about homework? Or the nasty posse of mean girls making her life hell? Or her best friend who won’t stop guilt-tripping her? Or her other best friend who might go to jail for love if Del doesn’t do something? But really, who cares about any of that when all Del can think about is beautiful Rosa who dances every night across the street. . . . Until one day Rosa comes in the cafe door. And if Rosa starts thinking about Del, too, then how in the name of caramel milkshakes will Del get the rest of it together?” – from Chronicle Books

something-true

Something True (Out in Portland, #1) by Karelia Stetz-Waters
Published by Forever Yours, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing

Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play Books, Kobo, and other retailers. Join the discussion on Goodreads!

“Tate Grafton has a tough exterior, but underneath she’s kind, caring, and fiercely loyal. That’s why she first started working at Out in Portland Coffee-it was her way of repaying the shop’s owner for taking her in as a homeless teenager. Nine years later, the coffee shop is floundering and Tate feels like she’s letting life pass her by . . . until she shares an unforgettable night with a beautiful stranger. When the mysterious woman disappears the next morning, Tate doesn’t even know her name.

Laura Enfield was supposed to be in Portland for only a few days-just long enough to oversee a simple business deal before joining her conservative father on his political campaign. But when the closeted Laura romances an employee of the coffee shop her company is shutting down, things get suddenly complicated. Now, the lies she’s told for years are beginning to unravel, and her biggest secret is about to be exposed. Laura can’t stop thinking about the barista with the soulful eyes, but after a lifetime of deception, can she finally embrace something true?” – from Karelia Stetz-Waters

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Don’t Bang the Barista! by Leigh Matthews
Published by Leigh Matthews
Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers.  Join the discussion on Goodreads!

“Drawing on the classics of lesbian pulp fiction, Don’t Bang the Barista! is set in the hipster-dyke triangle of East Vancouver, where friends Kate and Cass discuss the politics of hooking up with a hot barista crush. Is Cass warning Kate off over concern for her favourite coffee shop hangout, or does she have ulterior motives for keeping Hanna and Kate apart? What if Hanna actually has her sights set on someone else… someone already in a seemingly monogamous and hetero relationship? Navigating life in the queer East Van community certainly isn’t simple for Kate and her trusty canine, Jupiter, especially when Kate’s ex gets back into town looking more fabulous than ever. Can Kate finally figure out who she wants to be with before it’s too late?” – via Amazon.com

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Confessions from a Coffee Shop by T.B. Markinson
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Available from Amazon.  Join the discussion on Goodreads!

“Cori Tisdale was on top of the world. A basketball star at Harvard and a promising author with a lucrative book deal.

A few years later, Cori’s life is falling apart. Her beautiful girlfriend, Kat Finn, has a shopping addiction. To make ends meet, Cori takes a part-time job at a coffee shop.

Just when Cori thinks her life can’t get any worse, an old crush appears out of the blue. Cori’s friendship with Samantha Clarke pushes Cori further into a dangerous abyss when Sam reveals two secrets to Cori and asks her not to tell a soul, including Kat.

Will this be the end of Cori’s and Kat’s relationship?” from T.B. Markinson

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A Caramel Macchiato with a Friend by Lila Bruce
Published by Sapphire Books|
Available from Sapphire Books, Amazon, and other retailers.  Join the discussion on Goodreads!

(A short story from the A Heart Well Traveled: Tales of Long Distance Romance and Unlikely Outcomes)

“Discover the many facets of romantic relationships as authors in volume one of, A Heart Well Traveled, unravel the trials and tribulations of long distance love affairs.

Each author, with their own unique style of storytelling, will leave the reader begging for more. Go from wild rides to gentle love stories, exploring the twists and turns lovers go through as they work to be together despite the distance between them.

Explore bonds beyond friendship, chance meetings, family drama, gender complexity, longstanding love and unexpected passion as lovers seek their happily ever after.

A Heart Well Traveled is a collection of short stories where women who love woman share the joys and challenges of long distance relationships.

Can love really conquer all?” – from Sapphire Books

Categories: booklist, erotica, fiction, lgbt, romance, science fiction, Uncategorized, young adult | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Shorties: 3 Audiobooks, 3.5 hours

I dunno about any of you, but right now I’m buried under a pile of incredible books and a million other things (WNBA All-Star weekend, here I come!). My attention-span is also scattered to the four winds, so what I really need are bite-sized (audio) story morsels. One of my favorite things is being read to. The Seattle Public Library hosts a bag lunch story time for adults (I’ve always wanted to go!). Audiobooks are, for the most part, the closest I get to replicating that wonderful feeling of being told a tale. In honor of the busy and multi-tasking folks out there, I scrounged up a few stories that you can listen to in a half hour, an hour, and two hours. They’re great for one sitting; while finishing up odious household chores; noshing on munchies and crunchies; or running around doing errands!

Use the advanced search on Audible to sort by length. If you do a search for “lesbian” in the less than one hour search, you’ll come up with a list that includes M/M romance, sensationalist erotica, and titillating titles. I had to dig around before I found anything that I wanted to listen to, though. Searches for “bisexual” short titles proved even less inspiring. But. You may find more in these results that are to your liking. I’d love to hear from folks who have listened to these stories or have audiobooks under three hour recommendations to share!

*Denotes To Be Listened (TBL) audiobooks.

I’ve listened to Rift Jumpers twice. Once on a lunch break and the second time this morning on my commute. It’s a short story prequel, to what, I can only assume is going to be a fantastic cosmic adventure series. Jane Henningsly, Commander of the research ship, Dauntless, and her crew, embark on a voyage of discovery across the cosmos. Long divided by distance and unattainable “faster than light” space travel, they seek out “rifts”… 

Narrator Kristin James delivers another immersive performance as a crew on the cusp of exciting scientific discovery (though her Aussie and Scottish accents are slightly off the mark, I’ll chalk those characterizations up to the dilutions of years spent in outer space amongst folks from all over). She enhances humorous and tender moments between crew members as they cycle through routine, yet crucial, maneuvers, as well as creating emotional depth through her nuanced narration.

Appeals: hardish sci-fi, a touch of F/F romance, great cast chemistry (blending professionalism & personal connections), humor, kick ass female protagonists

Rift Jumpers: Faster Than Light (A Short Story Prequel) by Erik Schubach
Narrated by Kristin James
Length: 29 minutes
ASIN: B01IFGCWVU
Released: July 2016

Available as an audiobook from Amazon/Audible and iTunes.  Join the discussion on Goodreads!

 

North Star: A Western Lesbian Romance Audiobook

L.A.-based journalist Megan Hill is a true town mouse. She loves her permanent cell signal, her shitty public transport, and her Starbucks on every corner – and all of that is about to disappear for an entire summer. Soon, she’s going to regret suggesting a “town vs. city” article for the next magazine issue, as it’s her the magazine is sending to Iron Road, Utah to make the report.

Out there, she’ll find Jessie North, the confident and cantankerous owner of North Star Books in the small western town – and apparently the only out and proud lesbian for miles around. Jessie has no fear and no filter, and it’s gotten her into quite a few confrontations over the years. Maybe it’ll get her into a confrontation with this Barbie doll of a city girl who’s just turned up.

Only…Megan and Jessie don’t hate each other like it seems they should. There’s something pushing them together – and it’s not just Jessie’s mother. Whatever fairytale or chemistry is drawing these two women to each other, it’s drawing them pretty strong. Whether it’s strong enough to resist the hate of homophobic Iron Road residents and a cruel, cruel request from Megan’s editor, however, has yet to be seen. ©2016 Bridgette Jensen (P)2016 Bridgette Jensen

Wow, just from the publisher’s description alone, I’m ready to saddle up and head out into the country for adventure! You get well-trod match-ups: city vs. country and fast-paced career vs small town business owner. The sample of narrator Sara Lorn’s performance sounds very promising, too! 

Also, have you watched “Cowgirl Up” from Tello? It’s two seasons of city girl shenanigans on a ranch. If you grew up on Nickelodeon’s “Hey Dude” (1989-1991), City Slickers (1991), and other humorous Westerns pitting unlikely cowgirls and cowboys against the elements, then definitely check out this series! 

Appeals: city mouse vs country mouse, Western setting, F/F romance

*North Star: A Western Lesbian Romance by Bridgette Jensen
Narrated by Sara Lorn
Produced by
Length: 56 minutes
Released: August 2016

Available as an audiobook from Amazon/Audible and iTunes.  Join the discussion on Goodreads!

 

Pomegranate Audiobook

What if everything you thought you knew was a lie?

Crafting spells, running her shop, and hanging with her lover, Hayden, was all Persephone Carraway wanted out of life. The future was filled with endless possibilities as long as it was with the girl of her dreams. But Hayden has a secret and, it turns out, so does Persephone.

One night in the Underworld will change things forever….

Demi, Persephone’s mother, has developed a designer pomegranate, infusing it with her daughter’s blood. A single act of betrayal will craft war with the old gods and the fae, leaving destruction in its wake. Persephone is drawn into a web of myth and magic where nothing is at it seems, even herself.

Myth. Magic. Pomegranates….

©2015 Erzabet Bishop (P)2015 Erzabet Bishop

Oh my dear, Persephone, what have you gotten yourself into? This will be the second audiobook featuring a retelling of Persephone and Hades (aka Hayden), that I’ve listened to this year. My finger is poised above the play button and I look forward to another version of Greek god and goddess drama! Hollie Jackson’s narration sounds like her standard style, but is still very enjoyable so far.

Appeals: Fantasy, erotica, F/F romance, mythology, retellings

*Pomegranate: Myth & Magic, Book 1 by Erzabet Bishop
Narrator: Hollie Jackson
Published by Decadent Publishing Company, LLC
Length: 2 hours
ASIN: B015S1FVUE
Audiobook production date: December 2015

Available as an audiobook from Audible. Join the discussion on Goodreads!

Categories: adventure, audiobooks, fiction, lgbt, romance, science fiction, westerns | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love on the Vine: Romance Booklist

Spritzer

Summer spritzer

Would you like some wine with your summer romance? (I’m going to straight up admit that I am super tempted to use a bunch *cough* of grape puns. I do not resist temptation very well…). In college, I had a couple of professors who enjoyed taking our French-in-France cohort to many a vineyard. As a result, I gained a deeper appreciation of wine grape cultivation, its history and social context, and, of course, a better informed palate.

I’ve also enjoyed many films set in vineyards  or had something to do with wine (A Walk to Remember (1995); Terroir (Korean drama series, 2008/2009); French Kiss (1995); and Bottle Shock (2008)), but I don’t think I’ve ever read one. Below you’ll find a handful of romantic encounters, from Karin Kallmaker’s retelling of Pride & Prejudice (Just Like That) to a midlife change at the Wild Love Winery in Michigan (Nicolette Dane’s Full Bodied in the Vineyard), and more. The romance that finds these women arises from unexpected corners and circumstances. 

Full Bodied Nicolette Dane

“After yet another breakup and on the cusp of her 40th birthday, Shannon Laughlin is feeling lost. Life hasn’t gone quite how she expected and she’s ready for something new, a new outlook, a new adventure. A new love. One night, as she tries to figure out what’s next, a chance post on social media by an old friend offers to give her that change she’s been seeking.

That old friend is Alina. Alina is a seasonal worker at Wild Love Winery up on Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan’s wine appellation. A free-spirited woman, Alina has orchestrated a life for herself that revolves around following her bliss. It’s something Shan has always admired in her friend. That, and Alina’s undeniable sensuality. Shan can’t help but remember the one night in college that the two women shared a bed. And the possibility Alina is offering is just too good to pass up.

Will Shan figure out how to get both her work life and her love life back on track as she stumbles into her 40s? Can the magic of Michigan’s wine country and the surrounding beauty convince Shan that there’s more to this world than she’s been able to see? Or will this second chance at making it work with Alina prove to be out of her reach? Sometimes life is only just beginning at 40, as Shan is about to find out. And there’s so much more of it to live.” via nicolettedane.com

Just Like That Karin Kallmaker

“Syrah Ardani tried independence—but the call of the Napa Valley hills and rolling vineyards of her family’s winery have brought her home again. She is content with her ordered world until she learns that her father’s feckless management has put Ardani Vineyards into receivership. 

Corporate turnaround specialist Toni Blanchard’s arrival is preceded by tales of her slash-and-burn techniques. Determined to meet this soulless corporate raider head on, Syrah proudly prepares to do battle for her home and family business. 

Toni has reason to retreat from a high-pressure Manhattan lifestyle, not the least of which is a bitter break up. She’s been told that Syrah Ardani is attractive and single, but Toni never mixes business and pleasure.

Creditors clamor for a quick sale and payment. The beautiful—and hostile—Syrah wants Toni off her land and out of her life. 

Their clashes smolder with distrust and resentment, but also threaten to light a completely different kind of fire. Most dangerous of all is the one thing Toni can’t control—the way her heart reacts when Syrah looks at her…just like that.

Karin Kallmaker’s lesbian retelling of Pride and Prejudice pits first impressions against last chances in this lush wine country story.” via Bella Books

crush

“Piper Campbell has spent the last fifteen years of her life raising her younger sister. Charlie is now an adult—and on the brink of stardom. Piper swears she can keep her head even as she’s recruited into Charlie’s retinue, but then along comes Haley–someone who has been burned too many times to believe the vow of a woman who hasn’t yet experienced the seductive, entrancing power of Fame.” via susanxmeagher.com

wine

“This is a second, revised edition of Jae’s award-winning lesbian romance Something in the Wine. It includes the sexy follow-up short story “Seduction for Beginners” as a bonus.

All her life, Annie Prideaux has suffered through her brother’s constant practical jokes. But Jake’s last joke is one too many, she decides when he sets her up on a blind date with his friend Drew—neglecting to tell his straight sister one tiny detail: her date is not a man, but a lesbian.

Annie and Drew decide it’s time to turn the tables on Jake by pretending to fall in love with each other.

At first glance, they have nothing in common. Disillusioned with love, Annie focuses on books, her cat, and her work as an accountant while Drew, more confident and outgoing, owns a dog and spends most of her time working in her beloved vineyard.

Only their common goal to take revenge on Jake unites them. But what starts as a table-turning game soon turns Annie’s and Drew’s lives upside down as the lines between pretending and reality begin to blur.

Something in the Wine is a story about love, friendship, and coming to terms with what it means to be yourself.” via Ylva Publishing

Categories: fiction, lgbt, lists, retellings, romance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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