Monday, September 28, 2015

Musical Mondays: Adam Lambert's Ghost Town

Musical Mondays is hosted by My So-Called Chaos and I thought it might be fun to take part on as many Mondays as I can to showcase artists that identify as LGBT+ or who have songs out that touch on the topic. If you want to check out what My So-Called Chaos featured this week, then go here.

I decided to go with Adam Lambert's song "Ghost Town" for today's Musical Monday post. I'm a big fan of Adam and I even saw him live soon after he was on American Idol - he's amazing! I'm a huge fan of his first album and while I really like his second, it's not my favorite. I have yet to buy his third album (which is where "Ghost Town" is from) but I hope to get that soon. Regardless, I really love this song and I would love to hear your thoughts.

What are you listening to these days?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from BEA, all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Mira is starting over at Saint Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to pretend that she could act like a functioning human this time, not a girl who can’t get out of bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she’s with Sebby.

Jeremy is the painfully shy art nerd at Saint Francis who’s been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn, it’s as if he’s been expecting this blond, lanky boy with mischief glinting in his eye.

Sebby, Mira’s gay best friend, is a boy who seems to carry sunlight around with him. Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and impromptu road trips, designed to fix the broken parts of their lives.

As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira’s world, he begins to understand the secrets that they hide in order to protect themselves, to keep each other safe from those who don’t understand their quest to live for the impossible.

Review: Fans of the Impossible Life is actually a bit difficult to review. It follows all three perspectives of Jeremy, Mira, and Sebby but in different ways. Jeremy is told in first-person, Mira is third-person, and Sebby is second-person ("You do..." "You say..."). Sebby's is probably the hardest to get used too, but at the same time, his point of view isn't used as much as Jeremy and Mira. Personally, I liked Jeremy the best because first-person allows you to really get into the mind of the character and you feel like you know them better.

As for the actual story, this is a book about growing up in all sorts of different ways. These three characters have gone through a lot in the past year (with Sebby and Mira even meeting in the psychiatric wing of the hospital) so it's no surprise that they start to form a unique bond with one another. It's not always healthy, but it seems to work for them at the time.

I liked the various parent relationships in the book. Jeremy has two dads who really love him and are trying to do what's best for him. Mira has a mom and dad who are more confused on how to deal with her, so they aren't always saying or reacting in the best way. And Sebby lives in a foster home so he feels mostly alone, unless he's with his friends. Sebby, in a lot of ways, is a ticking time bomb. Throughout the book he starts to change and pull away from Jeremy and Mira. It's heartbreaking to read about these characters who deserve so much more than what the world throws at them.

This book is about growing up. It's also about the power of friendship and family. It's about learning to take care of yourself and not just someone else. It's about forming bonds, and loosening others. It's difficult to explain, but it's very well written. I would recommend.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Donate to It Gets Better: Receive Rainbow Doritos

For anyone that thinks it would be fantastic to have Rainbow Colored Doritos, as well as donate money to a great cause, then now is your chance! Doritos is working with the It Gets Better Project where you can get a bag of Rainbow Doritos sent to your house if you donate at least ten dollars.

As you can see from the picture on top, each bag has a quote on the back of the bag as well. This is definitely a great reason to indulge in some Doritos. Even if you don't eat junk food, you can still donate the money, get the bag, and then donate it to a local LGBT+ Youth Group or GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance).

This is a wonderful partnership and I commend Doritos for being a part of this. Now go donate to It Gets Better!!

-Lauren Becker

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Star Wars Book: Homophobic Reactions

Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig features a new, gay character called Sinjir Rath Velus. For those of us that support LGBT+ rights, this is a fantastic thing. That's not the case for a lot of other people though. I was on the blog My Bookish Life the other day and writer, Ramona, shared this story with her readers, noting that there is a lot of homophobic backlash based on this character.

Ramona shared a quote from Chuck's blog that gives his reaction to all of this, and I wanted to share that here as well because I think it's fantastically written:

On his blog, Chuck Wendig wrote, “If you’re upset because I put gay characters and a gay protagonist in the book, I got nothing for you.” Because, he added, “You’re not the Rebel Alliance. You’re not the good guys. You’re the […] oppressive, totalitarian Empire. If you can imagine a world where Luke Skywalker would be irritated that there were gay people around him, you completely missed the point of Star Wars. It’s like trying to picture Jesus kicking lepers in the throat instead of curing them. Stop being the Empire. Join the Rebel Alliance. We have love and inclusion and great music and cute droids.

Thank you to Ramona for sharing this story and be sure to read her initial blog post for more information. 

Please share your thoughts below,

Lauren Becker 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Etsy Pride (7): Origami Mobile + Leather Journal

Because the easiest way to show LGBT+ pride is to sport or create something rainbow, I decided to search Etsy for some rainbow items. These are not necessarily listed as pride awareness, but that doesn't mean you can't use them as such!

Rainbow Origami Crane Spiral Mobile made by meligami.

Cost: $28

You can buy this rainbow mobile or order a custom order if you want set colors! The picture above shows you the mobile as it would look hanging up (left) and from underneath it (right).

Rainbow Leather Wrapped Journal made by Jackdaw Bindery

Pastel Rainbow BLANK: $30.10
Pastel Rainbow LINED: $37.70

There is a wide variety of leather color options too, so you don't have to do the white color show in the photo above! I'm a huge fan of journals, so I really love this idea.


What do you think? Would you purchase either of these items?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Let's Discuss: Same-Sex Parents in YA Literature

 Same-Sex Parents in YA Literature

By Lauren Becker

Some of the books I have read recently have featured same-sex parents and it led me to think about other YA titles that do the same. I feel like this is a really interesting and great way to include homosexuality in YA novels without making that the point. Yes, it's always great to have main characters that identify as LGBT+ in a story line that is not necessarily about "coming out" and their sexuality. Regardless, I think same-sex parents is something that should be featured in YA novels more, as it becomes more and more common in real life.

Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters is actually a book where the same-sex parents play a big part in the story. This is a story about Nick, who was born through in vitro fertilization. As a teenager, his moms start to have personal issues and it places Nick between the two of them. Parental strife and divorce are a common issue, and I appreciate that Peters wrote a novel that focuses on how that works between a same-sex couple and their children. It's not all that different from a heterosexual couple and it's important that people realize this. Books tell stories, but they also shine a light on real life.

Next, we have Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid, which mostly focuses on best friends Julia and Dave. In this novel, Julia has two dads. She has a mom but she's not around much, as she prefers to travel around the world and send postcards of her adventures. Julia admires her mom and wants to live an exciting life like her some day. However, in her everyday, it is her dads that are the ones that are there. They are great guys and wonderful parents. The fact that they are gay and parenting a teen girl isn't the focus of the book. They act like any other parent, and it's books like these that are just as important as the ones that focus on the topic more (like Between Mom and Jo).

Lola and the Boy Next Door is about an eccentric teen named Lola who loves to make her own clothes, and as the title gives away, falls for the adorable boy next door. Lola also has two dads. Her mom is part of the book in a way, but she's someone that can't take care of herself and Lola has a difficult time understanding her and feeling compassion. The fact that Lola has two dads is never an issue though. Like Julia's parents in Never Always Sometimes, Lola's dads are your regular parents. They want the best for her and they get upset when she does something wrong. Nothing too scandalous or upsetting there, right?

Finally, we have Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa. There are two boys in this book that are not straight, but one of them, Jeremy, also has two dads. One of them was married to his mom and had him, then they got divorced, and his dad fell in love with a man named Dave. Jeremy's mom isn't around and so he's only really ever known his dad and Dave. It's normal for him. It's not until he gets a hard time at school because of his parents finally getting married that Jeremy realizes that what he views as a normal family situation isn't seen the same way by others. It affects him a great deal, but the book isn't entirely about Jeremy's relationship with his dads. Them being gay and together does play a bigger part than Never Always Sometimes or Lola and the Boy Next Door, but it's still just an aspect of Jeremy's life, just like many other YA books where the character has a story line that deals with their parents.

I'm sure these four books are only a drop in the YA pool of novels where the main character has parents that are same-sex. The examples I gave include two moms with a son, two dads with a son, and two books where two dads have a girl. From this sample, I think there should be more books with two moms, but I'm sure there are a lot of other examples beyond Between Mom and Jo.

What do you think about same-sex parents in YA novels? What other books would you recommend?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Etsy Pride (6): Ornament and Skirt!

Etsy Pride number 6! I love featuring all these different items and Etsy shops - Etsy is an addiction of mine - but what do you think?

The holidays are coming up! Do you know anyone who would love this Same Love ornament? Depending on what type of ornament you choose, these range from $10-$12 from Kiki's Korner SC.

Ladies! Do you like this Rainbow Pride Upcycled Skirt ($49)? This is also one of those items that are just cute - LGBT pride or not. The skirt is sold by Sweet Life Threads.


Share your thoughts! If you comment here, I will visit your blog in return and comment on one of your posts!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Etsy Pride (5): Art Print and Suncatcher

Welcome back to Etsy Pride! How do you like the new button? I thought this feature needed something a bit more fun and bright! Sorry I missed Etsy Pride last Friday, but here we go---

Isn't this gorgeous? You can get this One Love fine art print from Etsy shop Jenndalyn for $18 + (depends on what size you order).

This really cool Love and Be Loved (look at the silver charm) Suncatcher is $11 from Salt Kissed Gems.


What do you think of these items? Either of them something you would get yourself or someone you know?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Breaking Up Point

Waiting on Wednesday comes from Breaking the Spine

Breaking Up Point by Brian McNamara 

Out: September 15, 2015

Official Summary: Brendan Madden is starting his freshman year of college and, although excited, he is sad to say good-bye to his high school boyfriend, Mark. After a rough transition, Brendan carves out a place for himself at school, where he has new friends and newfound independence. With the added strain of distance, however, he now finds it hard to maintain his relationship with Mark, especially due to the fact that Mark still must hide the relationship from most of his friends. Brendan’s college life allows him to be open and honest about who he is. He debates whether he is willing to compromise this for Mark, especially since staying in the relationship means forgoing the possibility of finding new romance at college. 

My Thoughts:  Not too long to wait for this one! I love the theme of one half of a couple going to college while the other is stuck back in high school. The person in college is experiencing something  very different, and it's bound to be tough to make a relationship work - even if it's not long distance. Added to this whole idea is the fact that Mark seems to be mostly in the closet and that is bound to be tough for Brendan, especially if he's out in college and meeting other people that are too! I'm definitely curious about this one! 

What do you think? What are you waiting on?