romance

Holiday Romance 2017 – Audiobook edition

It’s not too difficult for me to tune out holiday music coming at me through the radio and decorations and avoid the aisles filled with Christmas decor before Halloween is even cold in its festive grave. However, once the calendar ticks past Thanksgiving, it’s off to the store to stock up on Darigold eggnog and Harvey’s hot butter rum mix; deck the halls with my tote full of cheer; and renew my resolve that this will be the year I’ll finally get a tree (even though I have no place to put it). 

Since I started digging around for holiday audiobooks, I’ve learned that it’s easier to locate print stories. A couple of the stories below are ones that I found by looking up their print counterparts. I’m currently listening to Miranda MacLeod’s Holme for the Holidays, a romance about an American and a Brit who experience loss (in very different ways) and end up sharing the holidays together on a Yorkshire farm. It’s the right seasonal blend for a holiday romance: humor, missteps, regret, and fresh starts. Stephanie Murphy delivers an enjoyable performance overall. My only quibble is that the English, or, more specifically, Yorkshire accents, seem just a bit off. Her energy and characterization make up for it, though.

 

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Categories: audiobooks, booklist, lgbt, romance, seasonal | 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
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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

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

AudioFile Magazine’s Best of Romance 2017

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Every year, AudioFile Magazine reviews countless romance audiobooks and distills them into a “Best of the Year” list. The result rivals any binge-able Netflix queue. 2017 is no different. It offers a selection of stories that transport listeners hearts and minds back in time, through thrilling adventures, contemporary and paranormal worlds, and more. I’m excited to dive into Carolyn Brown’s The Strawberry Hearts Diner and Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge, big city and small town present-day tales set in Texas. You’ll find plenty of warm, sweetness and sexy chills to suit your tastes, too. For your browsing pleasure, I’ve organized the books by sub-genre. 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, such as Cosmos by Carl Sagan and Freak Show by James St. James. I did not, however, review any of the “Best of Romance” 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 romance” featuring female protagonists. Happy listening!

 

Historical

 

BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DUKE by Kelly Bowen
Read by Ashford McNab
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

BEAUTY LIKE THE NIGHT by Joanna Bourne
Read by Kirsten Potter
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for 

FAIR, BRIGHT, AND TERRIBLE by Elizabeth Kingston
Read by Nicholas Boulton
**Check out a sound clip 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.

 

Thriller

ENIGMA

ENIGMA by Catherine Coulter
Read by Renee Raudman, MacLeod Andrews
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

 

Military

off base

OFF BASE by Annabeth Albert
Read by Tyler Stevens
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

Spicy

REAL DIRTY by Meghan March
Read by Elena Wolfe, Sebastian York
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

CLAIM & PROTECT by Rhenna Morgan
Read by John Lane
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

Contemporary

 

 

THE STRAWBERRY HEARTS DINER by Carolyn Brown
Read by Brittany Pressley
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

CHASING DOWN A DREAM by Beverly Jenkins
Read by Lynette Freeman
*Check out a sound clip 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.

IF NOT FOR YOU by Debbie Macomber
Read by Khristine Hvam
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

JANE OF AUSTIN by Hillary Manton Lodge
Read by Kate Handford
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

Paranormal

 

WHITE HOT by Ilona Andrews
Read by Renee Raudman
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

WICKED ABYSS by Kresley Cole
Read by Robert Petkoff
*Check out a sound clip 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.

THE CHOSEN by J.R. Ward
Read by Jim Frangione
Join the conversation on Goodreads! Available for purchase from Amazon/Audible and other retailers. Check your local public library for availability.

 

Non-Exclusive Narrator Videos on YouTube

Curious about what it’s like behind the microphone? Narrators Khristine Hvam and Renee Raudman discuss their experiences working on If Not For You and White Hot, respectively.

 

 

 

Categories: audiobooks, lists, romance, Uncategorized | 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

I’m with her: Political fiction booklist

Well, folks, it is hard to believe that only a year has passed since election night 2016. It feels like much more time has passed than a mere twelve months. Through all of the events (and tweets) that have transpired, my reading helped sustain my heart and mind. It’s not just the librarian in me saying this, but I’m a firm believer in the power of reading and lifelong learning to make the world a better place. Right now, I want to read about queer women who have joined the political fray in order to effect positive change. I hope that these books give you the shot in the arm that you need to keep on going, too.

 

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True Colors by Yolanda Wallace
Bold Strokes Books, August 2017
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“Taylor Crenshaw is a lifelong Democrat, but her parents are staunch Republicans. To make matters worse, her ultraconservative father has just been elected president. Although she prefers to live her life openly, her father would rather she stay in the closet. When she meets Robby Rawlins, will she choose to give in to her father’s demands or follow her heart?
 
Robby Rawlins works at an antique store by day. She spends her nights anonymously skewering politicians in her blog. President Terry Crenshaw’s anti-gay rhetoric gave Robby plenty to write about during a contentious campaign, but a chance meeting with his daughter leaves her at a loss for words. Getting the scoop has always been Robby’s goal. Now it might come second to getting the girl. Unless she can find a way to do both.” — Bold Strokes Books

 

By Design by [Armstrong, J.A.]

By Design by J.A. Armstrong
By Design series, books 1-9
J.A. Armstrong Books, 2015
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“Building bridges has a very different meaning for Jameson Reid than it does for Candace Fletcher. J.D. Reid spends her days designing some of the most elegant and majestic buildings and homes in North America.  U.S. Senator Candace Fletcher has spent her life working to build bridges between people. J.D. Reid is not who Candace Fletcher was expecting to arrive on her doorstep. Candace will challenge all of Jameson’s preconceptions about the women of Washington D.C. The enigmatic architect will test the resolve of the Junior Senator from New York. Two women will discover that falling in love may be out of their control, but creating a relationship in the world of politics and business is completely BY DESIGN.” — J.A. Armstrong Books

 

** PLEASE DESCRIBE THIS IMAGE **

A More Perfect Union by Carsen Taite
Bold Strokes Books, December 2017

“When Major Zoey Granger exposed corruption in the ranks, she became an unwitting media darling and shot to a position reporting to top brass at the Pentagon. Now Zoey finds herself in the unwanted spotlight once again, this time at the heart of a scandal that threatens to devastate the military. Her efforts to contain the fallout are thwarted when the White House assigns a notorious DC fixer to oversee her every move.

Political insider Rook Daniels can fix any problem, no matter how illicit or indictable, but she has two rules: she picks her cases and she’s in charge. When she makes an exception for an old friend at the White House, she gets tangled up with a sexy but stubborn officer who has her own ideas about authority. Rook and Zoey must decide whether a chance at love is worth risking loss of reputation in a town where appearances rule.” — Bold Strokes Books

 

Madam President by Blayne Cooper & T. Novan
Renaissance Alliance Publishing, 2001
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“Devlyn Marlowe, the first woman President of the United States, has just been elected. Breaking with the tradition of hiring a political writer to chronicle her administration, President Marlowe selects one Lauren Strayer, a professional biographer with a reputation for absolute honesty. There’s a slight problem with Devlyn’s plan, though. Lauren wants nothing to do with what she sees as a political hack job. It takes some serious persuading, but the Commander-in-Chief is an eloquent negotiator, and Lauren reluctantly agrees to take the job, provided she truly has editorial freedom. So armed with her computer, her incredibly ugly Pug, and a fair bit of trepidation, Lauren finds herself in residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There, amidst the harrowing and demanding life of the First Family, Lauren begins to understand and eventually love the complex woman who is both leader of a great nation and loving single parent to three rambunctious children. Funny, realistic, romantic, and endearing, Madam President is rapidly becoming a modern classic.” — Amazon description

First Lady (sequel) by Blayne Cooper & T. Novan
Cavalier Press, 2003
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“In this timeless classic, the sequel to their best seller Madam President, Blayne Cooper and T. Novan continue the chronicle of the lives of Lauren Strayer and Devlyn Marlowe.

Planning a wedding is never easy. However, most brides don’t face the challenges that Lauren Strayer does. Her beloved comes with a ready-made family, something the biographer never imagined for herself. In addition, Lauren’s estranged father thoroughly disapproves of her future mate, who just happens to be the nation’s first female president. Lauren tackles the perils and pleasures of parenting and the tension between her private nature and her new, very public role. At the same time, Dev, a dedicated public servant, struggles to find the balance between managing the nation’s interests, her family, her fears and her stress, while continuing the development of her relationship with Lauren. The result is an action-packed, amusing and tender tale of the sort that fans of Cooper & Novan have come to love and expect.” — Amazon description

 

Wild Things Karin Kallmaker

Wild Things by Karin Kallmaker
Bella Books, 2012 (2nd edition)
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“Scholar and award-winning author Faith Fiztgerald has every reason to be happy: a wealthy, charming man who adores her and a family cheering her marriage prospects. But from the moment she meets Eric’s sister, Sydney Van Allen, she knows her safe, predictable feelings for him are a shadow of what could be. Openly lesbian and running for Senator, Sydney can only succeed if she can live down her wild past. That means no liaisons, especially with the achingly alluring woman on her brother’s arm who looks at her with confusion—and desire.” — via Bella Books 

 

awakenings jackie calhoun

Awakenings by Jackie Calhoun
Bella Books, 2012
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“Despite early attempts to contact Hayley Baxter, Sarah Sweeney has neither heard from nor seen her since Hayley moved to New York City and a journalism career eleven years ago. Both are incredulous when they literally bump into each other among the tens of thousands of protesters in and around the Wisconsin State Capitol building. Hayley offers to share her hotel room in Madison on weekends. With misgivings, Sarah takes her up on it and quickly realizes her once fierce love for Hayley still simmers under the surface of her anger. When the protests move to the next stage-collecting signatures for recall-the weekends in Madison end. Sarah, a teacher, goes back to real life certain that Hayley will never leave her roommate and job in New York. However, the bad economy causes Hayley’s newspaper to go belly-up and she is forced to return to Wisconsin, to the lake where it all began …” via Bella Books

 

The Candidate (Bella Books, 2008)
The Campaign (Bella Books, 2012)
At Your Service, Madam President (Bella Books, 2016)

Follow Jane Kincaid as she vies for the presidential nomination, works on the election campaign, and her early struggles in the Oval Office.

Categories: booklist, lgbt, romance | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Halloween: The Secret of Sleepy Hollow

The Secret of Sleepy Hollow

 

The other week at a local CVS, I noticed racks of Christmas romance paperbacks. I’m not quite ready to turn over all my leaves to winter holiday tales, though. Where oh where can I trick or treat for romances between queer women on All Hallows Eve? When I’m stumped for stories or want recommendations I can count on, I ask the readers at The Lesbian Book Review Book Club, a Facebook group associated with The Lesbian Review review site. I received several great titles for my treat bag, but I knew right away which one I would start with…

The Secret of Sleepy Hollow is a perfect seasonal tale to cozy up with as the days grow shorter, wetter, and colder. You know the feeling that time stops, characters frozen in place until you re-open a book? How easy it feels to to pick up where you left off as though no time has passed at all? This is one of those worlds. Andi Marquette takes the well-known and oft repeated tale of Ichabod Crane and his ill-fate time in Sleepy Hollow, and gives it a modern, lesbian spin. Abby Crane spends Halloween weekend deep in the archives of the local history museum in Sleepy Hollow, investigating her famous ancestor. As she works on her doctoral thesis, she meets Katie, a descendant of Katrina van Tassel, home on holiday from her own studies. Sparks fly immediately as the pair set out to learn what really happened to Ichabod on that fateful night 1799… I had fun reading it, enjoying the chemistry between the two women, the mysterious interplay of waking life and dreams, as well as the search itself 🙂 Maybe someday they’ll make a movie based on this version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow!

The Secret of Sleepy Hollow by Andi Marquette
Book Two in Twice Told Tales – Lesbian Retellings
Ylva Publishing, October 2015

You can purchase a copy through Ylva Publishing, Bella Books, Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. Join the conversation on Goodreads, too!

Categories: contemporary, Holiday, lgbt, novella, paranormal, retellings, romance, seasonal, series | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Read with Pride Northwest 2017

The Read with Pride Northwest conference, formerly known as Gay Romance Northwest (GRNW), is only 3 weeks away! It will be held at the Seattle Public Library on Saturday, November 4th from 12 pm to 6 pm. Afterwards, hop uphill to enjoy a multi-author reading event at Gay City, from 7 pm to 10 pm. Registration is required to attend panel sessions, but all are welcome to peruse the books for sale and chat up authors. If you want to pre-funk for the conference, I’ve included a list of the attending authors, as well as a link to their websites and books.

Last year, I attended for the first time, along with a co-worker buddy. And it was amazing! I love romance, and queer romance especially; so having this kind of convergence of kindred spirits and authors so close to home makes me feel super lucky. For the remainder of the month, I’m trying really hard not to buy anymore books, because I know I’m gonna splurge on books and bookish stuff at the SPL’s Friends of the Library store (and there is a coffee shop inside, whuuuuut). This year I’m arriving earlier because that table of freebie books empties out quick! Also, bring any LGBTQIA+ titles that you would like to donate to the library at Gay City. Last year they had a table accepting donations, so I’m pretty sure they will this year, too.

 

Attending Authors

For more information on the attending authors, click HERE.

RWP 2017 authors

Gimme all your lovin’! 

Need even more love in your life? Yeah, I know, me too! Here’s a sample platter to satiate those romance hunger pains until November 4th. Stay tuned for that special moment when the panel sessions are revealed on Read with Pride Northwest‘s website! Cheers 🙂

Love-Between-the-Covers

I know I shared this last year, but it’s still a great romance documentary. Love Between the Covers features numerous writers, including Radclyffe. You can watch it via Amazon, Vudu, YouTube, and Google Play. You can also watch it for free if your library subscribes to Hoopla or has DVD copies available.

 

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Austin Chant and Amanda Jean host a fantastic queer romance podcast, The Hopeless Romantic. Check it out!

Categories: events, lgbt, romance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Case of the Not-so-Nice Nurse – audiobook review

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Cherry Aimless and I have at least one thing in common: our admiration of teen super sleuth, Nancy Dre…er, Nancy Clue. Narrator Emily Beresford captures the playful spirit of Mabel Maney’s The Case of the Not-so-Nice Nurse. Originally published in 1991, this tongue-in-cheek combo parody (with a queer twist) of the Nancy Drew mystery series and the nurse-cum amateur-investigator series, Cherry Ames, is even more fun in audio form.

Cherry, a clueless nurse with a heart of gold, is about to take a well-deserved vacation from her job at a busy hospital in Seattle, when chaos erupts. Beresford deftly channels the young woman’s perky helpfulness and oblivious nature, treading a fine line between endearing and annoying. Along the way to California, Cherry picks up a few friends and meets her idol, Nancy Clue. All characters are given distinct vocal profiles. This enhances the humor and increases listener immersion. Together, the women pool their talents and resources to solve the mystery.  

***Book two in the series, The Case of the Good-for-Nothing Girlfriend, follows up on the traumatic backstory of Nancy Clue, her father, and much-beloved housekeeper.***

A Nancy Clue and Cherry Aimless mystery, Book 1
Cleis Press
Length: 7 hours, 2 minutes
Audiobook production: 2012

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

Categories: audiobooks, humorous, mystery, romance, series | 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

Perfect Pairing review

Perfect Pairing is a book you should read with plenty of great food at hand. No matter what time of day I return to this story or even if I just ate, I always find myself super hungry (even if the sandwich being made is not my jam). At least it’s delicious torture. Can I avoid the temptation of employing a good many food puns in this review? Probably not and I probably won’t try to hard to avoid serving them up, either. There is plenty of head butting, humor, and romance as Quinn Banning, an investment banker with strong local ties and an even stronger drive, tries to get successful food truck chef Hal Orion on board with starting a restaurant (complete with all expenses paid and creative control). Neither woman wants to give up what matters most to them. They both love their hometown of Buffalo, New York, and want to keep its special flavors intact, but come at it from seemingly different angles. Quinn’s college-age brother, Ian and his adorkably endearing qualities help humanize her “Never gets no for an answer” business persona, but that only goes so far. Sully, Hal’s friend-food truck partner-roommate, adds playful winks and nods and say no mores to post-Quinn encounters and exploring the reasons for Hal’s refusal to accept the banker’s proposition. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is…right?

What I love and what is immediately apparent from the first page is the genuine dialogue, character chemistry, and strong (though wordless presence) of the story’s other main character, Food. One of my favorite quandaries is having a pocketful of cash and tons of food options pumping their amazing aromas in my face. I’m also the kind of person who would starve to death because making a choice on what I’ll eat is really hard when I’m torn in a million different directions. Yet, Hal makes a food lover’s choice easy. At her food truck, Cheesy Does It, you can stuff your face with any number of savory sandwiches. From “Heard of Buffalo!” to “Sloppy Firsts” to “Hippy Dippy” and more, everyone from investment bankers to Instagrammers to blue collar workers can find something to enjoy. Hal is more concerned with making sure no one leaves her truck hungry than with her bottom line.

As Hal and Quinn spend more time together (for better or worse), boundaries between business and personal blur. Can they create a recipe for success or will it all fall apart? 

***Awesome bonus: If you want to learn how to make some of the sandwiches in Perfect Pairing, author Rachel Spangler shows you how in a series of videos on her website.***

Perfect Pairing by Rachel Spangler
Published by Bywater Books
Available from Bywater Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble.  Join the discussion on Goodreads!

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

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