Monday, February 29, 2016

Star Wars Film Franchise to Include LGBT Character

This past Friday, I came across an article about how J.J. Abrams says that the Star Wars movie franchise will eventually include an LGBT character. From the article-

"To me, the fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility," Abrams said. "So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say there wouldn't be a homosexual character in that world."

I applaud Abrams for saying this and for understanding that in any world, this one or in a galaxy far, far, away that there are LGBT people and they should be included. I'm not saying there should be a sudden coming out story among all the action. I don't think anyone would appreciate that. But if there are heterosexual characters, then there should also be someone who identifies as gay or who just happens to be in a relationship with the same sex. As long as it's done with respect, I think it will be an exciting thing to see in such a popular, well-loved series. 

What do you think about this statement from Abrams? Did you read the entire article? Please share your thoughts in the comments!


Friday, February 26, 2016

Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir by Maggie Thrash

Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir by Maggie Thrash

Review by Lauren

source: copy from library; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryMaggie Thrash has spent basically every summer of her fifteen-year-old life at the one-hundred-year-old Camp Bellflower for Girls, set deep in the heart of Appalachia. She’s from Atlanta, she’s never kissed a guy, she’s into Backstreet Boys in a really deep way, and her long summer days are full of a pleasant, peaceful nothing . . . until one confounding moment. A split-second of innocent physical contact pulls Maggie into a gut-twisting love for an older, wiser, and most surprising of all (at least to Maggie), female counselor named Erin. But Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for a girl to fall in love with another girl, and Maggie’s savant-like proficiency at the camp’s rifle range is the only thing keeping her heart from exploding. When it seems as if Erin maybe feels the same way about Maggie, it’s too much for both Maggie and Camp Bellflower to handle, let alone to understand.

Review: I love graphic books, and it's always interesting to see how people use this medium when the story is not fiction, but based on their own life. Honor Girl is the story of a teenage Maggie Thrash attending an all-girl's camp, and how one summer, she starts to develop feelings for an older counselor Erin, who happens to be female.

Maggie is surprised to find herself liking Erin, but she never feels a hatred or disgust at her feelings and I loved this! I can't say I appreciate the author doing this, because she's just saying what happened. What I mean is that I'm glad Maggie was fairly okay with her feelings when she realized them. Sure, it might be weird or awkward at first, when you think you only like boys, but it's not something to be ashamed and Maggie wasn't.

Erin even seems to reciprocate her feelings, but she's still older than Maggie...not  to mention a counselor to Maggie's camp attendant status. It would be similar to a young teacher falling for their teen pupil. Not too far apart in age, but the power dynamic is a bit off, even if Erin isn't Maggie's counselor.

The one thing I think that people might have an issue with is the ending. I liked how Maggie concluded things to allow for answers, but at the same time, you kind of hope for a certain ending. Granted, this is a true story, and it's true to the end.

Would you read this one? Have you read any other graphic memoirs? 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Barnes n Noble's Top 15 Most Anticipated LGBTQ YA Fiction

Barnes n Noble has created a list of their 15 Most Anticipated LGBTQ YA Novels of 2016. I'm always on the lookout for LGBT+ novels so it's great when I can find a pre-made list! Some of these have already been released, but not many, as it's only February.

The list includes the release date as well as a paragraph of information letting you know what the book is about. I highly recommend you check out the link but I wanted to share some of the books from the list that I am particularly excited to read this year.

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle 

Release Date: March 29

Add on Goodreads

Official Summary: Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa…and before Annabeth was killed in a car accident.

Enter Geoff, Quinn’s best friend who insists it’s time that Quinn came out—at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy—a hot one—and falls hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending—if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.

Without Annette by Jane B. Mason

Release Date: May 31

Add on Goodreads

Official SummaryJosie Little has been looking forward to moving halfway across the country to attend Brookwood Academy, a prestigious boarding school, with her girlfriend, Annette, for ages. But underneath Brookwood's picture-perfect image lies a crippling sense of elitism that begins to tear the girls apart from the moment they arrive.

While Josie struggles to navigate her new life, Annette seems to fit in perfectly. Yet that acceptance comes with more than a few strings. And consequently, Annette insists on keeping their relationship a secret.

At first, Josie agrees. But as Annette pushes her further and further away, Josie grows closer to Penn, a boy whose friendship and romantic feelings for her tangle her already-unraveling relationship. When Annette's need for approval sets her on a devastating course for self-destruction, Josie isn't sure she can save her this time -- or if Annette even wants her to try.

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour by David Levithan

Release Date: June 7th

Add on Goodreads

Official SummaryMark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other -- and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.


What do you think of this list? Any of the books sound like something you'd want to read? What about the ones I chose to feature here? 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Torque by Charley Descoteaux + What Are You Reading?

Well, I've been a bit MIA haven't I? I'm so sorry about that! Sometimes it's difficult to run two blogs and keep up with new posts. I have a lot of news stories and whatnot saved that I hope to share with you all soon though.

However, I didn't want to leave you hanging any I thought I'd send you along to ShootingStarsMag today where my review for Torque by Charley Descoteaux has just gone live. It's an LGBT novel from Samhain. I love tons of books from this publishing house, but this one?

Well...go read the review!

If you wish to comment here - what have you been reading lately? Any LGBT+ books? Share either way!


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pre-Order Giveaway for South of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf

South of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf is being released soon and in honor of that, the author is hosting a fun pre-order giveaway. Details from her website below:

If you pre-order SOUTH OF SUNSHINE by March 31st I'll send you this swag pack.
(Sorry guys, US only.)

This pre-order special swag pack includes:
*A SOUTH OF SUNSHINE postcard with a little personalized note to you from me
*A SOUTH OF SUNSHINE bookmark - signed
*A signed "Love who you love!" bookplate for your book
*Pre-order exclusive “Words of Inspiration” 4-Sticker Pack
*A raffle ticket for the “Rainbow Prize Pack." when you sign up for the newsletter. Which includes: a mug, watch and OPI nail polish set. (All related to the book. You’ll just have to read the book to see how.)

Here's how to get your pre-order swag pack:

STEP 1: Pre-order SOUTH OF SUNSHINE by midnight on March 31st, 2016 - hardcover or ebook
(Note: ebook isn't up yet for pre-order, but it will be soon)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Indie Bound

STEP 2: Fill out the pre-order form below.  (I promise I won't use or share your information in any way.)

All of the above information was taken from the author's website, so any "I" is in reference to her! If you would like to submit your pre-order receipt, then you will need to visit the website

I will admit that I am just now learning about this book, but I'm excited. It sounds really good and I'm curious to see how two girls in a relationship is taken by this small Southern town. I don't have the money right now to pre-order, but I'll have to check back in once I get paid!


Sunday, February 14, 2016

February 2016 M/M Book Picks

One of the things that I really enjoy about Goodreads is that people make lists of upcoming books in various genres. I have noticed that there have been lists made for m/m books in different months. I love a good m/m story, especially when the romance isn't necessarily the sole or only focus of the book. While it's already February 14, I still thought I'd check out the February 2016 MM Releases list and share the titles that I am most looking forward too! Some of these are already out, but I'll list dates for all of them!

Happy Valentine's Day by the way! 


Strong Signal by Megan Erickson (who I love) and Santino Hassell- due out February 15

The Law of Attraction by Jay Northcote - came out on February 5

Finding North by Carmen Jenner - due out February 25


Any of these look good to you? Any other February books with LGBT+ characters you would recommend?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Film Review: The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl Film

Review by Lauren

IMDB SummaryA fictitious love story loosely inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda's marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili's groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.

Review: Hopefully you saw my Repost Review for The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff, but if not, check back a few posts. I read this book back in 2010 and thought it was done really well. I was very excited to hear that this was finally being turned into a film and when I realized that Eddie Redmayne was going to portray Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe, I was even more excited. I was sure he would do justice to this character and he did! I wish I had more time to read the book again before seeing the film, but alas, I did not. Regardless, the film of The Danish Girl was beautifully done.

The overall story is about married couple Einar and Gerda, who are both artists. Needing help to finish a portrait she is painting, Gerda has her husband wear stockings and female shoes, as well as hold up a dress so that she can get the right look. This sparks something within Einar that he has tried to push aside his whole life. Soon he is desperate to live life as his new persona, Lili. Gerda is fine to go along with it at first. Being transgender wasn't known at the time. People who felt they were really the opposite gender were seen as crazy. For Gerda, she got a live model to dress up and yet, she did not lose her husband. It became tougher to understand when she realized that Einar no longer truly existed.

I do not want to go through the whole plot of the film, as that would be very boring for you to read and it would ruin the experience. As a viewer, you could sense her confusion and pain. She wanted Einar to be happy and she vehemently disagreed with doctor's who said her husband was crazy. At the same time, she didn't know what she was supposed to do. This wasn't "normal" behavior was it? What could she do to make sure that Einar was happy? Gerda was strong, yet she still had her moments where all she wanted was for her husband to hold her and love her.

As for Einar and Lili, the transition starts a bit slow at first, but it doesn't take long for Lili to be the main person Redmayne portrays. She is lovely and you feel sorry for the things she has to endure to be herself. It's not always easy seeing Gerda and Lili together because they want such vastly different things, yet at the same time, they both want each other to be happy. Redmayne did a fantastic job as Lili, truly showing the feminine side of Einar and emotionally exhibiting the turmoil and then joy that Einar experiences once he lets out Lili.

There are some secondary characters that are equally as good, but The Danish Girl is very much a film of love and friendship between actress Vikander and actor Redmayne. While the film was not nominated for an Oscar, the two leads were, and I do hope to see at least one of them win at the end of the month. I hope some of you will find the time to see this movie before the Oscars air, and if not, then definitely sometime soon. It's worth a view. It's a moving portrait of the first transgender person to undergo reconstruction surgery in Berlin, but more than that, it's a love story.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Book Review: Buzz by E. Davies

Buzz by E. Davies

Review by Lauren

source: personal copy; all opinions are my own

Official Summary“We can't guarantee your life if you keep playing.”

At twenty-three, an undiagnosed heart condition sends pro hockey player Cameron Riley back to his hometown newly single and looking for work. Cam can't hide his past – especially when his heart racing is a big risk, and boy, does his new boss's nephew make his heart race. Noah's exactly the kind of guy Cam needs after his hellish ex.

“I want to do something new.”

Art curator Noah Clark is glad his beekeeping uncle hired this hunk. Cameron is a sweet, smart bad boy. Noah works hard, like organizing a hockey-themed art exhibition, and he wants to let himself love hard. Noah's busy life would be perfect with Cameron, but what's his new lover hiding?

“Tell me why you've been watching me.”
Pitting Cam's budding relationship with sweet Noah against millions of bucks, Cam is offered a lot of money to abandon his new priorities: life, love, and family. The game of their lives is on the line. And after all's said and done, is it too late for Noah to forgive Cam for his partial truths?

Review: This is one of those books I randomly came across on Amazon and it was only around a dollar, so I decided to give it a shot! This is the first book in the Riley Brothers series, so you get the other two brother's stories next. Jackson's book is Clang and Thomas' is Swish. I know why Cameron has Buzz - he ends up working for a beekeeper when he comes back home after learning he has a heart condition that could kill him if he keeps working too hard. That means no more minor hockey league and definitely no chance to make the majors.

As for Jackson, he plays a large part in Cameron's book too. He's the eldest brother and he's been living at home while his other two brothers have left town to pursue other careers. His book will be Clang because he's a welder. We learn a bit about Thomas, though nobody knows if he's gay or not. I'm not sure about his title, but I really want to read the rest of these books! Both are out now - Jackson next, then you read Thomas' story.

Anyway, back to Cameron and his novel! He's back home and working as a beekeeper, which he quickly learns to love. It's important work and even relaxing in some ways. The nephew of his boss is Noah, who is an art curator and putting together a hockey show. Cameron keeps his past life as a hockey player a secret. He has his reasons, but honestly, he probably should have just told Noah up front. Noah does know he can't stress himself too much for health reasons though, which is a handy excuse when Cameron needs it. Regardless of this white lie, Cameron and Noah are a good couple.

There is plenty of sex and physical moments for those that enjoy that! The book actually starts out with a sex scene between Cameron and Noah, even though it takes a bit longer in the book for the two to meet. I suppose this is a good way to wet people's appetite for more! Besides the romance, I also really liked that Cameron was close to his family and you get to know his brothers fairly well, though mostly Jackson in this one.

I haven't read Clang or Swish yet, but I'm sure I'll be reading more about Cameron in those two, which I'm excited about because I like updates on characters I enjoy! Buzz was an enjoyable, quick read and it's sure to please many!

Friday, February 5, 2016

LGBT Book Reviews Elsewhere- Hearts and Flour + More

As I read blogs, I've been trying to keep track of LGBT+ book reviews that I come across. Here is the latest batch!

P.S. I know I said I'd review The Danish Girl film this week, but it's been a bit crazy so look out for that next week!!! I hope you've enjoyed the book review though. Anyone planning on reading it? Or seeing the film?

The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic - reviewed by Diva Book Nerd

Hearts and Flour by Tara Lain - reviewed by Unconventional Book Views

Clancy of the Undertow by Christopher Currie- also reviewed by Diva Book Nerd

Tackling the Tight End by Tara Lain - reviewed by The Nocturnal Library

By the Rules by Elisabeth Staab - reviewed Talk Supe

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin - review by Happy Indulgence Books

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller- reviewed by Lovin' los libros

Did you read any of the reviews? Any titles catch your eye?


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Girl Meets World Star Says She's "Queer"

Rowan is on the left - source
Rowan Blanchard, star of Girl Meets World, took to Twitter recently to state that she identifies as queer. While she has only been attracted to boys so far, she would be okay feeling attracted to another girl in the future. You can read more about this, and see the exact tweets, on Hollywood Life.

For someone on such a hit TV show, and on the Disney channel no less, I really commend Rowan for being honest and open with her fans about her sexuality. I think identifying as queer or even just being open to same-sex relationships is something that more and more people are doing. You never know who you will fall for or find attractive and I like that Rowan, and others, are staying open to this possibility and not allowing it to scare them. That's not to say that everyone has to feel this way or have an easy time identifying their sexuality. It can be a process, and it's also really private for some people. That's okay too.

Rowan might be young, but she's a strong girl and I can't wait to see where she goes in the future!