Monday, March 28, 2016

Discuss: Would You Do a Read-Along of an LGBT Novel?

photo source
I have had this idea for awhile now, so I thought I would throw it out there and see what the rest of you thought!

Would you be interested in doing a read-along of an LGBT novel?

I would allow people to make suggestions and then we'll narrow it down (probably by a vote) to the top two or three choices that people want to read. From there, we will have the book to read! The read-along won't be until around June (at the earliest) as I would like to read the book before hand, so I can break down the weekly or bi-weekly readings as well as come up with discussion questions and the like!

So...question time!

1. Would you want to do a read-along, if the book chosen interests you?

2. Would you want the discussion to be weekly or bi-weekly? (this means you either get one week to read to a certain point, or two weeks - how long the read-along is overall depends on the size of the novel).

That's about it! People can suggest MG titles, YA titles, Adult titles. It doesn't matter. If you've read the book before but want to discuss it with others, feel free to suggest. Again, it doesn't matter. The idea is to come up with a book that people will be excited to read and then discuss on here!

Give me your ideas! Spread the word to get other people's ideas!

Answer the two questions in the comments, and if your answer is yes, then suggest book ideas!


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Gwen Stefani on If Her Sons Were Gay

Over on my other blog, ShootingStarsMag, my review for Gwen Stefani's new album went live and you can check that out here. For this blog, however, I wanted to share an article that I just read about Gwen and how she said in an interview that she would be proud to have a gay son.

The article I read can be found on E Online here and I definitely recommend reading it - it's quick, don't worry! This isn't shocking to me whatsoever, coming from Gwen, but it's still always nice to hear celebrities making these statements. Who knows? Maybe it will start to change some people's minds about sexuality. Gwen also mentions The Danish Girl film, which was exciting, since I saw that in theaters and thought it was amazingly well done.

What do you think about Gwen (and other celebrities) making these statements about their children?

Anything else you want to add?


P.S. Happy Easter to those who celebrate! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

An Interview with Author Carlos Allende

Nineteen-year-old Josie García is torn between true love with a down-and-out poet and the monetary stability that only a rich husband can provide. She owes rent—two months—and while her little landlady is docile enough to pretend that she has forgotten about the money, she’s also a self-taught witch, planning to chop Josie’s head off and use it as the main ingredient in a potion to recover her lost youth and become the beautiful woman she never was.
Creepy, campy, and yet incredibly lyrical, Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle is a wildly imaginative tale that spans five decades, connecting the otherworldly occult to the out-of-this-world bohemia of fifties Venice Beach.
To learn more about the book, and how to purchase a copy, please visit this link! The author, Carlos Allende, will be a panelist at the LA Festival of Books on April 10, if you will be attending! And now, an interview with the author himself!
You stated that your characters are not actually gay, but instead, they are an allegory of what it means to grow up gay. How did this idea come to you?

The allegory came up unconsciously. I wanted to write about witches, inspired by the Malleus Maleficarum, a treatise on the prosecution of witches from the 15th Century, and bring it to modern times. I was working in Venice at the time so I ended up bringing the story to Venice in the late 1950s. The two main characters are an old and nameless little woman that dreams of becoming young again, and her chosen victim, Josie García, a 19-year-old that longs to catch a good husband. What both really want is to be loved and accepted. One thinks she only needs to be beautiful to succeed, and the other that being beautiful is all she should need. The nameless little woman suffers through all of her life because she’s different: she’s clumsy and unattractive, and cannot be what she was supposed to be, a beautiful witch like her sisters. 

Thus, she spends her life living in the shadows, growing bitterer and bitterer as the years pass by, just like a closeted gay person. The visit to the Sabbath represents a young man’s first visit to a gay bar. She’s excited, yet terrified about something she sees as utterly corrupted. Josie, on the other hand, is like a young and immature gay man that has accepted his sexuality and is conscious of his own good looks but is confused and damaged because of growing up in a society that rejects his kind. She’s selfish and self-centered, says hurtful things and does not realize that to be accepted one must accept others first. 

How would you describe your novel Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle to someone who does not know you?

Witches and beatniks. A horror farce set in Venice, California, throughout the first half of the 20th Century. It’s a fantasy for those that don’t necessarily like fantasy or horror. The novel is written in two levels: In the superficial one, it’s a campy dark comedy, full of eccentric characters and over-the-top situations. In the deeper one is about the need to belong. The Love in the title is not so much about romantic love, but fraternal love or bonding, the satisfaction that comes from membership to a group.

Are you currently working on anything else that you hope to publish?

Yes: “Coffee, Shopping, Murder, Love” a dark comedy / psychological thriller about a closeted gay Indian bookkeeper that starts killing his coworkers. He and his tormented southern boyfriend embark on a road trip to get rid of the bodies. Natural Born Killers meets Little Miss Sunshine meets John Waters? It is about living in shame, jealousy, envy, white and heterosexual privilege, and again, our need to belong.

What LGBT+ books or authors would you recommend?

Alan Bennett! He’s my favorite author and not because he’s gay but because he’s an incredibly good story-teller. His novels are not action packed but emotion-packed, yet only pleasant and extravagant emotions. Reading his work is like floating in a lazy river that crosses the jungle while you admire the scenery around you: oh, there’s a jaguar, and is that a python snake in that tree? He points to the absurdities of life with elegance, subtle irony, and wit.

Were you afraid that people would reject your characters’ unpleasant features?

I was, but my goal was to make inherently unlikable characters likable, and I didn’t want to chicken out. The little nameless woman becomes a serial murderer and a devil worshipper; Josie says awfully racist and hurtful things. I wanted to play with the readers’ emotions and instead of making them just passive observers of the heroines' journey, make them cringe with their every step but still care for them. Based on the feedback I’ve got so far, I think I succeeded. Most feel sorry for the little woman:  “Despite going out of her way to perform some downright evil deeds the little woman is the character I felt the most for during the course of the book.” (Walker, 2016) And Josie’s immaturity is precisely what makes her human. She represents the prejudice and ignorance that are far too common among young latino women—the novel is too a social critique. Literature is full of heroines that set a good example: they’re brave, passionate, have high moral standards, and always fight for social justice. 

Life is nothing like that! It wasn’t at all the 1950s. Josie is a product of the times she lived. She sets the example of what not to do: She lies, she cheats, she steals, she says mean things intending to hurt, but not because she’s evil, but because she’s immature and jealous. Still, the journey can be a fun one if you can enjoy the twisted sense of humor. Josie’s love rival is Eva, a Polish holocaust survivor. While I was doing research for the novel I learned that many had relocated to Venice in the 1950s, and I was shocked to learn how much rejection they still suffered, even after the horrors of the war had become known by Americans. Josie’s unjustified jealousy and animosity towards Eva exemplifies the absurdity of such rejection. Josie hates Eva not because Eva is Jewish but because she’s jealous of Eva’s good looks, yet Josie chooses to attack Eva based in her ethnicity, while Josie herself is too a victim of racism. The challenge was to make the readers laugh at the irony and still feel for Josie. I purposely chose Jewish editors to see if I had gone too far. They understood the joke.

Find more from the author at the following places:

Monday, March 21, 2016

LGBT+ Giveaways on Goodreads

I figured it was about time that I shared some more LGBT+ books that are being given away on Goodreads right now. Check soon though, some of these might be ending any day now! I am linking to the book's Goodreads page. You should be able to scroll down a bit and find where to enter the giveaway. These are all open to the U.S. If you are out of the U.S. and want to know if you can enter, follow the link!

Any questions? Let me know!

Without Annette by Jane B. Mason- Enter here

Jerkbait by Mia Siegert - Enter here 

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo - Enter here

Pins by Jim Provenzano - Enter here 

Again, if you have any questions about entering these giveaways, please do let me know. Be sure to check out the links ASAP so you don't miss out on any of these! The first three are upcoming LGBT+ YA novels, and Pins is one that has been out for awhile now. I believe I own a copy, but I have not read it yet. Regardless, these all look really good and I've entered a few of them myself!


Friday, March 18, 2016

Asexual Characters in YA Fiction

do not own photo - source
My last post, with author Tiffany Rose, brought up the topic of asexuality, which might not mean much to everyone. Therefore, I thought it was important to share this post from YALSA about asexual characters that have been featured in YA novels. You can check out the article here and learn a bit more about asexuality as well as some book titles that are trying to bring it more into the mainstream.

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor is mentioned, as well as Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld, just to name two. What I also really appreciate about this article is that they include a variety of links at the end under Resources so that you can go and read more about asexuality. I won't go too into the topic on here because I know there is a variety of components and one person identifying as asexual doesn't mean the next person who identifies as such will have the exact same outlook on it.

I know one person in my personal life who identifies as asexual. It does not mean they do not have sexual urges, but rather, they do not feel sexually attracted to anyone in their life. Whereas the majority of people (gay, straight, etc.) are sexually attracted to certain people, this person I know does not have that type of attraction. They can find someone good looking and like their personality and they do want close relationships, but sex isn't part of that. At least, not right now. It would probably take a special person, and even then, it probably wouldn't be a large component of the relationship. Like I said, this is the person I personally know, but that does not mean all people who identify as asexual have these same ideas or experiences.

What are your thoughts about the books mentioned? Do you know any books, YA or not, that feature asexual characters?


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Free E-Book: The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

Yeah, this doesn't have a good cover. I think it's safe to say that most people judge a book at least a tiny bit by its cover, especially if that is the first thing you see/know about a book. However, I was looking on Amazon and saw that this LGBT e-book was free, and I remembered reading a really positive review of it on Diva Booknerds. The lovely Kynndra wrote an amazing, passionate review of this book (which you can read here) and remembering that, I knew I needed to check this one out. I just grabbed this one (again, it's free!) so you'll have to wait a little bit for my own review.

I did want to share today though so you know to read Kynndra's review and think about getting this one for your own reading pleasure. It looks like there are at least two sequels, but they are only 99 cents each, so not too bad at all if you want to continue on! Go to Amazon right now and get this book! I'm curious to see what the rest of you think of this one too! If you do read this book and you would like to share your review here, do let me know! I'd be happy to post it, or at least link to your own review if you have a blog or Goodreads where you share reviews.

To end, I wanted to share the cover that Kynndra created for her own review since she disliked the cover so much and wanted something a bit nicer to grab attention:

design created by Kynndra
It's simple, but it's still so much more eye-catching than the original! So if this version makes you feel better, imagine this is the real cover. I'm sure Kynndra wouldn't mind! 


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Interview with Author Tiffany Rose

I'd like to welcome Tiffany Rose to the blog today. She writes a science fiction story titled Bone Diggers on Wattpad. She will also be releasing her novel Hello World (the first in an adult science fiction series) in the fall, from Pandamoon Publishing.

1. For those that don't know, tell us a little about your writing and how you feel it fits the LGBT+ spectrum?

My bio reads, “I write about magical girls and the morally gray”, but what would be more accurate is I write LGBT+ leads. Every novel coming out, or currently on my to be written list has main character representation. Bone Diggers has a bisexual lead, Hello World has an asexual lead. I also have a fairytale retelling with an aromantic lead, and another video game inspired story with a demi-girl lead. I think it’s important to show LGBT+ characters, and the diversity within the spectrum. Readers will also find representation scattered throughout, but having ignored groups telling the stories is especially important, even in heavy science fiction or fantasy.

2. What are some of your favorite LGBT+ books and authors?
This year, I’ve decided to read exclusively works with LGBT+ characters or
authors on that spectrum. I just finished reading From Under The Mountain by Cait Spivey. It was wonderful to read high fantasy with representation, but without the sexist and harmful tropes I normally have to ignore. Other favorites this year include anything by Rachel Sharp. I’m on my third book from her right now.  
3. Your website states that you do design as well as write. Do you design your own covers? What is some work you have done in the past?

I do! Sometimes authors have zero say in their cover design, but thankfully so far I’ve gotten say (or complete say) in the matter. That is in large part because of the indie and wattpad elements. But, I’ve even been known to make a cover before I’ve written down official words. Sometimes because of NaNoWriMo and sometimes because it’s just fun. The Bone Diggers cover was designed by me, and you can find several more covers at Design Over Chaos.

4. You also run a Tumblr website all about asexuality. What made you start this? What information can people find on this site?

Fuck Yeah Asexual was originally created to help me figure out my own feelings on the matter. It was a way I could collect little posts about asexuality and share them in a way that wasn’t outing myself. But now, it’s three years later and the blog is solely around to spread asexual awareness and pride. Most of the site’s popularity came from activist moments, we took a strong stance for asexual, aromantic, and agender inclusion and peopled rallied to protect all a- people. It’s also a continuing reference location for books with asexual characters, articles about intra-community issues, and really anything else asexuality related.  


Thanks to Tiffany for answering my questions! I love that she has a blog about asexuality, because it's a topic that people tend to forget when thinking of LGBTQIA.

Be sure to keep up with Tiffany and all she is doing at the following places (more links to be found here):

Art Over Chaos website -

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Top M/M Choices for March 2016

March is a really good month for m/m fiction. I have a lot of titles on my Kindle already that I need to review, but I wanted to focus on books I came across via Goodreads (mostly) that I do not currently have copies for, but would love to read ASAP! Please let me know if any of these interest you too! The titles link to Goodreads so you can add them/check out the summaries!

Out of Frame by Megan Erickson (In Focus #3): I have read and loved the first two In Focus novels. They are companion books, but I would still suggest reading them in order. I can't wait for Out of Frame to be released on March 15 (not too long now!)

Simple Things by Kade Boehme: I've seen a few m/m novels that deal with one or two guys coming back to their hometown and finding love with someone they used to know. It's a fun trope and I'm really excited to check out Simple Things, due out on March 25.

Salt and Iron by Tam MacNeil: I read a lot of m/m fiction, but they tend to often be contemporary. Therefore, it's nice to come across something in another genre that still interests me! Salt and Iron is one such novel, that I came across on Goodreads. You get magic and monster-hunting families among the romance. What could be better?! This title came out on Monday, March 7 - I need to get a copy ASAP!

The Worst Bad Thing by J.E. Birk: I'm really curious about this one! The summary definitely has me intrigued. I don't know how to describe the story really, so definitely read the summary for yourself. I'm curious about this secret that Tate is trying to fix! This one is out on March 23.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Cover Art: As I Descended by Robin Talley

The blog Epic Reads often has cover reveal roundups and on February 15, they shared the cover for As I Descended by Robin Talley, who writes LGBT+ YA Fiction. I have already read and reviewed her previous releases, Lies We Tell Ourselves and What We Left Behind. I'm definitely excited for her latest, which comes out on September 6, 2016.

You can add the book on Goodreads now! I really love the cover. The blue is very striking and I like that the girl on the cover is made up of the woods. It lends a creepy, mysterious vibe to the book. I'm also a huge fan of Shakespeare, so I'm curious how much this book is Shakespeare-inspired.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts below!


As for the summary, read on: Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

From acclaimed author Robin Talley comes a Shakespeare-inspired story of revenge and redemption, where fair is foul, and foul is fair.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Years and Years Release New Video for "Desire"

First off, I can't get the Youtube video to show up in this blog post, so I'll have to simply link you to the video. I do hope you check it out though!

Now, what video am I talking about? The UK band Years and Years has released a new video for their song "Desire", this time with some vocals by Tove Lo (who I also love). Years and Years is fronted by Olly Alexander, an openly gay man and his goal for this video was to show desire and romance can be more than just a man and a woman. This is often all that is shown in pop music videos and he wanted to change that. There are a couple "graphic" moments if you will in the video. Nothing crazy, but if that worries you, I wanted to at least make a quick disclaimer! If you have any questions, let me know. Otherwise, give it a watch and leave your thoughts in the comments!

A UK radio website posted the video, so you can go here to watch it. They also included an open letter from Olly that he posted on the band's facebook page. I recommend that you read this before watching the video, as I think it really helps you understand why this video was made and what you can expect, in a sense. I'll end this post with a sample from Olly's letter that I particularly loved. We should all be proud of who we are, no matter what our sexuality or gender.

If you want to follow Years and Years, visit their website or their twitter page.

Taken from the letter:

What do we expect from pop music? From our pop stars? What do we expect from the ones that are gay? I don’t know the answers to these questions but I for one don’t want to see a narrow representation of gender and identity on our screens or in our music. I want diversity. We shouldn’t have to feel scared about putting our sexualities and identities on display in all their beautiful, interlocking, multi-layered multi-coloured glory. I want to be proud. Proud to shove it in people’s faces if I want to.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A Few LGBT Reviews Elsewhere

When I come across LGBT+ book reviews on other blogs, I try and save them so I can make little round up posts like these. I only have a few to share today, but definitely give them a look!

Lovin' los Libros reviewed Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell 

-I really want to read this one. I love Megan Erickson and I know I need to check out Santino Hassell. I always like when authors work together; makes it interesting!

Go Read a Book reviewed Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

-I've wanted to read this one for awhile now! I'm definitely curious.

The Bookish Manicurist reviewed Unbecoming by Jenny Downham

-I didn't know about this one until I read the review here. It sounds really interesting, and I do think it's something I would enjoy.