Link Round Up: September 29 – October 3

colorpurple   Bastard   The-Ground-Beneath-by-Missouri-Vaun-197x300   the-miseducation-of-cameron-post-cover-final   otherbound

AfterEllen posted The Huddle: Banned Books.

Autostraddle posted Lez Liberty Lit #81: All Eileen Myles All The Time.

Diversity In YA posted Truths and Lies About Diversity in Speculative Fiction.

The Lesbian Review posted 10 Great Lesbian Books To Try.

Sarah Waters: Queen of the Tortured Lesbian Romance” was posted at The Daily Beast.

the-gay-revolution-9781451694116_lg   asthecrowflies  payingguests   gravesoul   redfiles

“Growing Up Queer: Should You Be Reading ‘As the Crow Flies’?” was posted at Comics Alliance.

The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle by Lillian Faderman was reviewed at Lambda Literary.

The Grave Soul by Ellen Hart was reviewed at Okazu.

The Red Files by Lee Winter was reviewed at The Rainbow Hub.

This post, and all posts at the Lesbrary, have the covers linked to their Amazon pages. If you click through and buy something, I might get a small referral fee. For even  more links, check out the Lesbrary’s twitterWe’re also on FacebookGoodreadsYoutube and Tumblr.

Thank you to the Lesbrary’s Patreon supporters! Special thanks to Jennifer Holly, Martha Hansen, and Carol DeniseSupport the Lesbrary on Patreon at $2 or more a month and be entered to win a lesbian/queer women book every month!

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Link Round Up: September 21 – 28

lumberjanes   dirty-river   undertheudalatree   heyday   whenwewereoutlaws

Autostraddle posted 2015 Autostraddle Comic and Sequential Art Awards.

Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian posted LGBTQ Fall Book Releases to Be Excited About.

Gay YA posted Bisexuality in YA.

Jeanne Cordova posted A Letter About Dying, to My Lesbian Communities at AfterEllen.

Catherine Lundoff posted Some thoughts about Tragic Queer Narratives.

infernoFlameBig   aintgonnaletnobody   lifeiswonderful   Orphan8cover   ClimbingtheDatePalm-200x300

“After 19 Books and a Presidential Bid, Eileen Myles Gets Her Due” was posted at Vulture.

Life Is Wonderful, People Are Terrific by Meliza Bañales was reviewed at Autostraddle.

Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith by Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks with Barbara Smith was reviewed at Lambda Literary.

Orphan #8 by Kim Van Alkemade was reviewed at ALA GLBT Reviews.

This post, and all posts at the Lesbrary, have the covers linked to their Amazon pages. If you click through and buy something, I might get a small referral fee. For even  more links, check out the Lesbrary’s twitterWe’re also on FacebookGoodreadsYoutube and Tumblr.

Thank you to the Lesbrary’s Patreon supporters! Special thanks to Jennifer Holly, Martha Hansen, and Carol DeniseSupport the Lesbrary on Patreon at $2 or more a month and be entered to win a lesbian/queer women book every month!

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Rachel reviewed The Locket and the Flintlock by Rebecca S. Buck


From Bold Strokes Books comes an unusual story of love amidst pre-Victorian England. The Locket and the Flintlock by Rebecca S. Buck starts in 1812 when Lucia Foxe, daughter of a wealthy British aristocrat, and her family are robbed by a band of thieves called Highwaymen. The thieves steal Lucia’s treasured locket and leave, but Lucia, bound and determined to get her locket back, secretly leaves home and pursues the outlaws. She soon meets their female leader, Len Hawkins, who on the surface seems vastly different from Lucia, but in reality shares a lot of common ground. The two, much to their surprise, become friends after a while, and later those feelings turn into undeniable love. But can gentlewoman Lucia and outlaw Len make a life together in a time when homosexuality was abhorred?

The Locket and the Flintlock  covers interesting topics, such as the social constraints women were faced with in the early 1800s, and how the poor barely had enough wages to live on and so many turned to a life of crime. The author did a good job highlighting these points, and the scenes where Len challenged Lucia on what society deemed “proper” rang true.

However, there were some things about the book that didn’t sit right with me. Lucia, never having been in a lesbian relationship before and unfamiliar with homosexuality, seemed to accept her feelings for Len too quickly. It felt to me that, a woman in Lucia’s time and society would have been more hesitant, afraid of being gay and done some serious soul-searching about it. But Lucia never really addressed this to herself, which I found surprising and unrealistic for the plotline.

At times, the two women’s stories were really absorbing and tense, but at others the book reiterated some of the same points which slowed the plot down. One unexpected twist felt a bit too convenient for Lucia and Len. And there were other moments in the novel that felt a little far-fetched for the characters, detracting from the story.

Though The Locket and the Flintlock wasn’t really my cup of tea, I applaud Rebecca S. Buck for all her research into the historical details of 1812 England and the last days of the highwaymen. The subject of a female highwayman isn’t touched on much, so it was refreshing to see that aspect of history acknowledged. Readers who love historical fiction, particularly in England, and women’s history should give The Locket and the Flintlock a try and see if it’s something they like.

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Link Round Up: September 14 – 20

dryland   fansoftheimpossiblelife   theargonauts   honorgirl   spire

Lambda Literary posted Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color Issue 2.

“We’re Here and We’re Queer: 35 Indie Titles Doing Right by LGBT Fans” was posted at Comicosity.

Dryland by Sara Jaffe was reviewed at Lambda Literary.

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson was reviewed at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa was reviewed at Lambda Literary.

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash was reviewed at AfterEllen.

This post, and all posts at the Lesbrary, have the covers linked to their Amazon pages. If you click through and buy something, I might get a small referral fee. For even  more links, check out the Lesbrary’s twitterWe’re also on FacebookGoodreadsYoutube and Tumblr.

Thank you to the Lesbrary’s Patreon supporters! Special thanks to Jennifer Holly, Martha Hansen, and Carol DeniseSupport the Lesbrary on Patreon at $2 or more a month and be entered to win a lesbian/queer women book every month!

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Marthese reviews Scale-Bright by Benjanun Sriduangkaew


Scale-Bright by Benjanun Sriduangkaew is a novella based on Chinese mythology that takes place in modern Hong Kong. This was an interesting premise and although I found it somewhat different from the fantasy that I usually real, it came recommended by a friend, so I gave it a go.

The story follows Julianne Lau, a 24 year old Hong Kong native. She lives with her two aunts, Houyi and Chang’e who to be clear are married to each other not related! This story starts with Julianne meeting a viper, a creature that looks like a human but isn’t. The viper is draw by the divine aura around Julianne which was acquired with her living with goddesses. The viper, called Olivia or Xiaoqing tells Julianne who she meets a couple of times that she wants a meeting with Chang’e, her aunt. Grudges among divine creatures last very long and there are a lot of enemies or past enemies for such a short book.

Julianne has body image issues, self-esteem issues and had encounters with depression. However, she is trying to be better. Like her aunt Chang’e, she is kind and she tries to control her sense of wanting attention sometimes with consequences.

There are some interesting relationships in the story. First off, I want to mention that we see some of Julianne’s past and about to be past relationships with women. For being such a short recount, it’s very queer.

Chang’e and Houyi have a good relationship based on affection and trust and so Julianne takes them as role models for her love life. Houyi buys Chang’e candies dates even when Chang’e is abroad and she picked her up from the airport in a tuxedo. That’s the level of sweetness that their relationship has. Despite this, they do not spend that much time together as their divine jobs take over a lot of time. Their past as well is tangibly full of sorrow apart from love.

Interesting was to see Houyi’s relationship with Julianne. Although she is technically only an in-law, she seems to be the main ‘caretaker’ while Chang’e, with her kindness takes over soothing roles when needed.

The relationship, as abrupt and like staccato as it was, between Xiaoqing and Julianne was also interesting. Xiaoqing shows Julianne that demons are complex and tells Julianne her story, after which she says she wants Julianne for who she is. Julianne for her part doesn’t care for what her partner looks like and learns to not judge people by the myths that are on them.

‘Demons’ , in this novella, are not villanized instead they are shown to be flawed and wanting to survive but also very diverse and complex with a system of their own

The writing is very descriptive, sometimes like poetry but I felt that at times it was just stretching too much. There are some styles that I liked such as sentences with only one word to describe routines. At times, as there were two sets of names being used, it is very easy to get confused especially if you are not familiar with the myths involved. It also takes a while to make sense after the beginning of a new segment as there are time and special hops, without much explanation.

We see the briskness of Hong Kong. I think this novella captures the metropolitan feel with its description of people and business and billboards.

This story takes on elements from myths such as the gods of sun and moon and the white snake and queers them up. Apart from the queer spins and retellings, it is heavy laden with gender issues and thought. Needless to say, but I will just in case, that this story being based on myth inherits all the strange gore that myths tend to have, so beware!

To end, I thought it was interesting reading a queer retelling of Chinese mythology by a Thai author no less,  instead of British, Canadian or American. I think the style would need some time to get used to, but it’s worth to read it. It lulls between complexities of plot and gender and the easiness of long descriptions that relax you (like one of those relaxation classes).

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Anna M. reviews Just Three Words by Melissa Brayden


Melissa Brayden’s follow-up to Kiss the Girl is Just Three Words, the second in Brayden’s Soho Loft Romance series about four lesbian/bisexual friends who met in college and started an advertising business called Savvy.

This time out, the plot focuses on structure-craving accountant Samantha Ennis and easygoing graphic designer Hunter Blair. The rent is raised in the Soho building where Savvy is located and Samantha also lives, and Samantha’s roommate Brooklyn (the heroine of Kiss the Girl) leaves their apartment to move in with Jessica. Hunter’s sublet has expired and she’s procrastinated too long on finding another place to live, so she agrees to move in with Samantha. Hunter is a bit of a player with a reputation for having fun with the ladies, although she doesn’t go home with women nearly as often as everyone thinks she does. She’s estranged from her father but still communicates regularly with her mother, who wants her to come home for visits far more often than she’s willing to.

After Brooklyn moves out, Samantha suffers from the loss of their friendly intimacy; she’s also recovering from a recent breakup with a woman who has her questioning everything she thought she wanted in a partner. When Hunter moves in, she confesses to Samantha that she had a crush on the other woman back in college. With attraction on the table, it’s not long before Samantha and Hunter move their relationship from friends to friends with benefits, despite the differences between their approaches to life and the fact that a failed relationship between them might be disastrous for their shared business.

A health crisis in Hunter’s family puts everything in perspective after Hunter and Samantha find themselves struggling with their feelings and the need for secrecy. Will they risk everything to be together, or will they end up going back to their comfort zones?

I enjoyed Brayden’s callbacks to Kiss the Girl and her forecasting of Mallory’s romance in the next book. She does a good job of making the obstacles to relationships seem realistic rather than contrived, which is always such a pleasure to find in a romance novel. Samantha and Hunter’s ability to communicate, even about difficult topics, was especially on point. Also, Samantha identifies as bisexual, and Brayden incorporates it rather than paying only lip service. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the Soho Loft series.

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Megan Casey Reviews Whacked by Josie Gordon


Lonnie Squires has an unusual profession for a lesbian mystery protagonist; she is an Episcopal priest. As far as I know, Joan Albarella’s Nikki Barnes is the only other woman of the cloth in lesbian mystery fiction. In fact, it is unusual to find religious references at all in the genre other than casual references to “the goddess” is some of the earlier, more feminist novels. As we know, most churches have not treated the LGBT community with respect, but if you have a calling, you have a calling and the Episcopal Church has been more queer-friendly than most.

Even so, author Gordon makes is clear early that Lonnie’s “calling” had more to do with the fact that the church had a women’s soccer team than any burning bush experience. In her relatively short career as a priest, Lonnie has become known for her ability to effect reconciliation; to smooth out differences between members of the church. When her bishop promises to give her her own rectory if she will travel to Eastern Michigan to mediate between two splitting factions, she jumps at the chance. Little does she know that she will become embroiled in a murder.

Although I’m not someone who likes a lot of praying in my novels, I confess to being a fan of G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown stories. I also confess to finding Whacked enjoyable and strangely satisfying. But that satisfaction didn’t come easy. I found the setup to the mystery to be clumsy and less than plausible. For one thing, Lonnie lies to the police to protect someone she has met only half an hour before. Then she breaks into the murdered man’s house (before the police think of it, mind you) and finds a clue that shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Having said that, it is absolutely essential that she do these things—there is no plot without them. But if I gave real star ratings for these books, Gordon would lose a healthy part of one for forcing the plot in this way. She knows she’s doing it; when Lonnie finds the clue, she thinks to herself, why is this here? Yet its presence is never actually explained. Likewise, a sheriff’s deputy, after a casual look at the body, tells Lonnie that he was killed with a shovel and that the shovel had been taken away. But if it had been taken away, how did he know it was a shovel, especially since it turned out to be an unusual kind of shovel? This is actually a major flaw in a mystery novel because most astute readers would assume that the deputy must be the killer. And this shovel is very important to the rest of the book.

Still, I like Lonnie and disliked her partner Jamie, as I was meant to—just about everything Jamie does in the book is disrespectful to Lonnie. I liked the description of the small Eastern Michigan town, especially its Dutch traditions and odd-sounding cuisine. I liked the insider look at the old Episcopal Church, and I very much admired the way that Gordon managed to use soccer metaphors throughout the book. Such as when Lonnie is questioning one of the suspects and thinks she may be about to learn something important: “This felt like a breakaway on an open net, though I knew the defenders were right behind me and gaining.” Her use of this extended metaphor is among the best I have ever seen—and that is saying something.

Lonnie’s philosophy of reconciliation not only goes to the heart of the novel, but to the heart of our society, divided now more than ever before: “Love had great power. People could do great goodness with the love they felt, once they got past anger and fear.” I’m willing to give Whacked the benefit of it being Gordon’s first attempt and I’m looking forward to seeing whether in Toasted, the next novel in the series, my feeling is justified.

For other reviews by Megan Casey, see her website at  or join her Goodreads Lesbian Mystery group at

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