Monday, October 30, 2017

True Colors by Anyta Sunday

True Colors by Anyta Sunday

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary (add on Goodreads):  Oskar used to be Marco’s best friend. His everything. His sunshine yellow.

But that was before. Before Marco stopped being a hot jock. Before he learned to live with scars and pain. And before Oskar tore their friendship apart.

Now the boy next door has returned home, determined to rekindle his friendship with Marco, and Marco’s more afraid than ever. Afraid of getting hurt. Afraid of being humiliated.

Afraid of falling in love.

Can Oskar find a way through Marco’s fear, back into his heart?

Review: Marco’s mom used colors to describe days, back before the accident that stole her life and scarred Marco both physically and mentally. Now Marco uses colors to describe people. Oskar, his best friend, was always yellow, until Oskar broke their friendship and eventually left their town. But Oskar is back and Marco can’t stop old feelings from coming back: friendship, hurt, and possibly love.

Oskar is out and proud, bringing a boyfriend when he comes back home. It’s obvious that Marco has always loved Oskar – and more than just a friend- but he’s terrified of coming out. He’s also terrified of being hurt by the same person again. It’s so easy to feel for Marco. He’s gone through a lot, and once readers find out what happened between the two friends, it’s even easier to understand Marco’s anger and trepidation about letting Oskar back into his life. In any capacity. The two of them have connections beyond memories though – Marco is close to Oskar’s sister and Marco’s father invited Oskar to be in his yearly play, with the hope that he two men would become friends again.

This book is emotional, but there are also a lot of lighthearted moments throughout. Marco and Oskar are slowly reconnecting and finding that maybe there is something still between them. It’s definitely a slow-burn romance, but completely worth the wait.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Etsy Pride: All Things Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde is a quintessential queer author - and one I just love - and his book The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of those books that people assume had queer characters. It was illegal at the time to be gay, so it's not stated outright, but I agree. I think that's what Wilde was going for with some of the characters. Therefore, for today's Etsy Pride, I'm going to share some Dorian Gray items I found on Etsy!

The Picture of Dorian Gray Scarf - buy here


From Shop UniversalZone

I love scarfs, so having one featuring one of my favorite books would be amazing!

The Picture of Dorian Gray Book Matches- buy here


From Shop HereForevermore

Candles are fantastic, and it's officially candle season! These would make a great stocking stuffer or party favor!

Dorian Gray Writing Gloves - buy here


From Shop Storiarts

How cool are these? I'd love some writing gloves as my hands are often cold!

The Picture of Dorian Gray Checkbook Cover- buy here


From Shop Time2BeHappy

This is so cool! I've never thought about getting a cool checkbook cover, but I like it!

The Picture of Dorian Gray Floating Quote - buy here

$34 or $44 (two sizes)

From Shop BurntBranch

This might be my favorite item here! I love how cool the floating quote looks. If I had my own house, I'd get more than one quote and have them in various rooms. One day!

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Con X: Covers Released Today!

It's Friday! It's also the release day of The Con X: Covers by Tegan and Sara. Ten years ago, twin sisters Tegan and Sara released their album The Con (which is seriously one of my most favorite albums ever) and now they are re-releasing that album but with other bands and artists covering the songs. I didn't realize this was happening until they talked about it at their over the summer and I've been eagerly waiting ever since! They are also touring their album, acoustically, and I'm so jealous of anyone who is able to see them. Unfortunately, they weren't touring close enough to me to see them live again, but if anyone reading this does go to a stop on their tour, I'd love to hear all about it.

Need another reason to buy this album? All proceeds will benefit the Tegan and Sara Foundation which focuses on helping LGBT girls and women.

To make sure this is up to date, go here
Before I leave you, I'll share the track list below. Tell me, what song are you most excited to hear? Do you listen to Tegan or Sara, or do you like any of the cover artists?

1. Ruth B. - "I Was Married"
2. MUNA - "Relief Next to Me"
3. Shura - "The Con"
4. Mykki Blanco - "Knife Going In"
5. PVRIS - "Are You Ten Years Ago"
6. Ryan Adams - "Back In Your Head"
7. City and Colour - "Hop a Plane"
8. Kelly Lee Owens - "Soil, Soil"
9. Bleachers - "Burn Your Life Down"
10. Hayley Williams of Paramore - "Nineteen"
11. Sara Bareilles - "Floorplan"
12. Shamir - "Like O, Like H"
13. Trashique (GRIMES X HANA) - "Dark Come Soon"
14. CHVRCHES – “Call It Off”
Digital Bonus Tracks
15. Cyndi Lauper – “Back in Your Head” (Bonus Track)
16. Bleached - "One Second" (Bonus Track)
17. Vivek Shraya - "I Take All the Blame" (Bonus Track)
18. Tegan and Sara - "Miami Still" (Bonus Track Demo) 

Monday, October 16, 2017

National Coming Out Day: A Belated Note

This past Wednesday, October 11, was National Coming Out Day. I wrote a little something on Twitter, but I do apologize for being late in writing something here. I just wanted to say "congratulations" to everyone who has ever come out as LGBT+ but that just because you may still be "in the closet" or however you want to phrase it, that doesn't make you any less LGBT+ or any less important to the LGBT+ community as a whole. You're still part of us, and we're here if you need us. And I'm an individual within that collective 'us' and I mean that all the same. I'm here to talk, to listen, if you need it.

You don't need to be out to feel legitimate, though I know many might make you feel that way. There are many reasons that people don't come out - or only come out to a select few. Sometimes it's because they live with or around people who would physically, emotionally, verbally, harm them. Sometimes they don't have a specific reason, but they know that it wouldn't be accepted, that it would harm them more than help them in some way. It doesn't matter. You don't have to tell anyone why you don't want to come out. It's okay. I wish that everyone who wanted to come out could, because I hate that so many have to live in fear. But sadly, that's still our world. So much progress has been made but not for everyone, and not everywhere. If you feel like you can't come out, but you are desperate to talk to someone, please reach out somewhere. Find a local chapter of GLSEN, talk to someone online, reach out to the The Trevor Project, or any other safe space you can find - even if that safe space is the internet.

October we celebrate LGBTQ History Month. This is your history. Our history. And I want you to be part of it your entire life, in whatever way you whatever way you want. It's up to you. But we're here for you, me included, in any way you need...and any way we can. So be safe, take care of yourself, and remember that coming out is what you make it. Nobody can tell you how to do it or when. You're part of this community, this history. And we love you. Always remember that.

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments and/or share this post if you think someone could use it.

Thank you to everyone who has ever read, commented, shared, or done anything else to support Let's Get Beyond Tolerance. I know you're there, and thank you.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Mini Review: All Wheel Drive by Z.A. Maxfield

All Wheel Drive by Z.A. Maxfield

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Healey Holly is battered, depressed, and looking to go to ground in his childhood home. He wants to rent the garage apartment, but it’s Diego Luz’s place now, and the last thing Diego wants is to share it.

Diego is recovering too—from the accident that put him in a wheelchair and the death of his mother shortly after. The garage apartment is where he’s keeping his mother’s things, and as long as they’re up those stairs and he’s down on the ground, there’s no way he can deal with his loss. And that’s just how he likes it.

Healey believes in science. Diego believes in luck. It will take a blend of both, and some prayer thrown in besides, for these two to learn that it’s the journey and the destination that matters.

Review: While I enjoyed this one to a degree, it's definitely not a favorite. It's actually been a little while since I've read this and I can remember aspects of it, but nothing terribly concrete. I do think Healy and Diego are both intriguing characters, but sometimes it felt like too much work for the two of them to be together. Most of this comes from Diego who constantly seems to be pushing back at Healey, even as they grow closer. Both guys are dealing with a lot, as can be seen in the summary, and I feel like the author handled everything well. While Diego's family isn't close by, family is still an important part of each man's life and I loved that. I like when characters have close friends or family around them. This isn't a bad read, by any means, but not something I'd re-read. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Cover Up by L.A. Witt

Cover Up by L.A. Witt

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: After ten years of blissful marriage, Navy Pilot Nate Chandler is divorcing his cheating husband. Single for the first time in years, Nate is numb to all emotion and kisses any chance of another relationship goodbye.

Not only is Nate struggling to get through this divorce, but his body is branded with a permanent reminder of his failed marriage: a matching tattoo with his ex. Searching for a place to cover up his old tattoo, Nate finds himself at the Skin Deep, Inc., where he meets the young and charming cover-up tattoo apprentice, Lucas Brandt.

From just flirty glances to steamy hot encounters, Nate and Lucas dive headfirst into a fling of hookups. But worried that he’ll forever be Nate’s “cover up” rebound relationship, Lucas fears that their love won’t be anything more than just skin deep. What was once just a casual attraction, Lucas now hopes to turn into a real relationship. But will he be able to convince the still tender-hearted Nate to fall in love again?

Review (add on Goodreads): Cover Up is the third book in the Skin Deep, Inc. series where Navy and Tattoo artists meet and fall in love. What I loved about Cover Up is that readers already know Nate and Lucas. They have both been in previous books. Granted, it's okay if you start with this one because everything you must know about them is included here, like the fact that Nate is divorcing his husband after ten years for cheating on him (regularly) and that Lucas is much younger and yet twice divorced (from women). They meet when Nate goes to the tattoo shop to see about getting a matching tattoo he had done with his husband covered up. Of course, this first meeting leads to the two of them falling into bed with each other. Lucas is used to hook ups and he's okay with that. Nate is more the one-man only type of guy but after his husband, he hadn't felt attracted to anyone in awhile. Seeing Lucas and wanting him leads him to go with the flow and see what happens. Granted, this turns into more than a one night stand and soon the two of them are seeing each other as much as possible.

Despite the age gap, I really liked the relationship between Nate and Lucas. Nate is reeling from a divorce, and he's desperate to find a way to let him forget, but Lucas has been divorced twice already and knows that these things can take time. He doesn't push Nate - until it's really needed - and Nate is a sweet guy who tries to take care of Lucas too, like bringing him lunch at work since Lucas works three jobs. The couples from the previous books do appear in Cover Up, which I always love. It's like getting mini sequels, allowing you to see where they are now in their relationship.

Cover Up is definitely about taking chances and finding love again when your heart has been broken. I recommend all of these books!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Five Dares by Eli Easton

Five Dares by Eli Easton

Review by Lauren

source: copy for review; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Andy Tyler has been the class daredevil since middle school. Over the years, he’s convinced his best friend, Jake Masterson, to perform some dangerous-looking stunts with him. But the dare they attempt on the night of their college graduation goes sideways. The firecrackers explode too soon and both of them end up with badly burned palms.

But hey, nothing gets the “terrible two-o” down for long, and they recuperate in style at Andy’s family cottage in Cape Cod . As the weeks go by, both Andy and Jake grow frustrated over the inability to use their hands for all sorts of daily activities—including getting off. So Andy begins a new series of dares that don’t just cross the friendship line, they obliterate it.

But what might be mere sexual relief to Andy is serious business to Jake, who only recently got over years of secret pining for his straight best friend. Inevitably, the burns heal, summer ends, and hearts are broken. To fix things, Andy will have to face the greatest dare of all.

Review (add on Goodreads): Five Dares has an interesting premise, I will admit, but I love friends to lovers romances so I had to check it out. I ended up really enjoying this one. Jake has been in love with Andy for years, but he hasn't even come out to his friend. He wants things to stay the same and he's afraid that if he does admit he likes guys, that's one step closer to blurting out his feelings for Andy. Now - before you start wondering if this is a gay for you type of romance, it's not. Yes, Andy does end up admitting his own feelings for Jake (shouldn't be a spoiler; it's a romance after all!) but he also states that he's bisexual. I always appreciate characters that are bisexual too; it's not always gay or straight, you know? More books should explore that aspect of sexuality.

Five Dares is a fun read - obviously the main dare that really pushes the guys together is based around sex, but there are flashbacks to when they are growing up and you learn about the other dares Andy comes up with. These range from a bit gross to putting-your-life-in-your-hands. It really shows the dynamics of Andy and Jake's friendship and I thought they really tied in well with the story (read it and you'll understand!)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Rainbow Roundup: It's Finally October!!

It's October, and I for one, am very excited. Fall is my favorite season - October is my favorite month - and Halloween is my favorite holiday. So basically I ADORE this time of the year. What about you? 

Not too many today, but hopefully that means you can check more of these out! Have you read any of these books - do you want to? 

Sinfully reviewed The Hike by John Inman (M/M thriller)

Happily Ever Chapter has reviews of Leo Loves Aries and Scorpio Hates Virgo by Anyta Sunday (M/M)

Kyla's Library reviewed They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (YA, m/m)

The Regal Critiques reviewed Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Orsmsbee (YA, asexual MC)

Books Like Wolves reviewed Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (YA, Lesbian/Bi characters)