MommyMamaandMe-298x300   Nevada   whatmakesababy

AfterEllen posted The Book Club: “Annie on My Mind” and The Book Club: August Rewind.

Autostraddle posted

Curve posted The Best of British Reads.

GayYA posted Announcing GayYA’s August 2014 Book of the Month, and Other Updates! and We Are Not Just a Diversity Checkbox Part 1.

outofthisworld   hild   springfever

Lambda Literary posted New in August: Richard House, Walter Frank, Penny Mickelbury, and Pier Paolo Pasolini.

The Lesbian Reading Room posted Goldies 2014 – the Winners.

Queer Between the Covers, Montreal’s annual queer book fair, is on Saturday, August 16!

UK Lesfic posted A Storming L Fest 2014.

Women and Words posted

otherbound   the-miseducation-of-cameron-post-cover-final   zazen

emily m. danforth was interviewed on Delaware 105.9 about the censorship of The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

Corinne Duyvis was interviewed at The Skiffy and Fanty Show.

Malinda Lo was interviewed at the Biblio Fiend.

Rachel Spangler posted GCLS Portland.

“10 Books by Queer Women That Will Change How You See the World” was posted at Cosmo(!)

“Very Specific Book Recs: Historical Queer Ladies” was posted at Sheroes Central.

loveinthetimeofglobalwarming   secondmangocover   PayingGuests

Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block reviewed at Gay YA.

Kiss the Girl by Melissa Brayden reviewed at Frivolous Views.

Out in the Union: A Labor History of Queer America by Miriam Frank was reviewed at Lambda Literary.

The Second Mango by Shira Glassman was reviewed at Eye of the Goat.

Best Bi Short Stories: Bisexual Fiction edited by Sheela Lambert was reviewed at Bisexual Books.

All In by Nell Stark was reviewed at Lambda Literary.

When I Was Straight by Julie Marie Wade was reviewed at Lambda Literary.

The Tolerance Trap: How God, Genes, and Good Intentions are Sabotaging Gay Equality by Suzanna Danuta Walters was reviewed at Lambda Literary.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters was reviewed at Kirku Reviews and Publishers Weekly.

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 twitter pageWe’re also on FacebookGoodreadsYoutube and tumblr.


Rhiannon Argo’s Girls I’ve Run Away With has been on my “To Read” list since Autostraddle mentioned it in their “Read a F*cking Book” column last October. After diving into the world of sixteen-year-old skater girl Lo, I can easily see why it was recommended so highly.

Argo’s novel was a stark contrast to some of my most recent reads about femme-y young lesbians growing up in relatively accepting social circles. Lo’s world is not kind to queer people (an unfortunate reality for so many LGBTQ teenagers), and sometimes reminded me of Emily Danforth’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

I will try to refrain from spoilers, but suffice it to say that this book’s title could never contain all of the adventures (good and bad) that occur when Lo decides to run away with her high school sort-of girlfriend, Savvy. One of Lo’s best qualities is that she has guts, but not without restraint, which makes the reader trust her even when she is in a crazy situation. Lo’s rebellious nature is a method of survival, and even if she makes a questionable decision, you have to admire her for the types of risks she takes.

Some of my favorite parts of the novel are when Lo grapples with whether to follow Savvy, the reckless dreamer, or to face the harsh reality of her family situation. Argo excels at capturing Lo’s adoration of Savvy, allowing her to be totally enamored with the girl without forgetting her rough-around-the-edges, fierce core. Lo is a fighter first, but is also vulnerable as a young lesbian in love, and that combination is what makes her so compelling as a character.

Argo also does a good job of showing how class intersects with sexuality, and how it can complicate a teenager’s decision to leave a bad situation. Financial security repeatedly competes with Lo’s need to run away, both with Savvy and in general. When she eventually gets to her breaking point and vows to leave a hostile place, Lo is forced to choose between two evils – living with people who don’t accept her or having no home at all.

Girls I’ve Run Away With confronts these realities head-on, as she details the rollercoaster of Lo’s search for stability. I found myself emotionally tired after reading about one of Lo’s hardships, only to be comforted a few chapters later by her renewed sense of hope. Though the heaviness can be hard to swallow, it is balanced by moments of happiness and joy, and overall, is definitely worth sticking with. I’m excited to hear that Argo is already working on a sequel and look forward to seeing where Lo runs to next.


The names may be different, the locales may boast an unfamiliar topography and the events may have a turn all their own; but, once in a very great while, a work emerges that is capable of providing the seldom-uttered assurance that this story is your story. It is akin to the caress of the author’s hand upon your cheek or the splaying of fingers through your hair, accompanied by a whisper that encourages you to find healing within the pain that resides at the core of her character’s own heart. You realize that, by embracing her abandonment, you are able to let go of your own. By hearing her lies, you are able to discover the truth within your own tales.

At twenty-nine, Win finds herself amid her Saturn return, trying to make what sense she can of nearly three decades that have known more than their share of loss, rejection, fear and disappointment. Surrounded by well-meaning friends with a penchant for new age modalities, her process is facilitated by everything from a water blessing ceremony to a Make Your Own Shrine Kit. Determined to release her fear, Win vows to return to the water. Though her mother, Janie, who left her at the age of nine, may have been something of a mermaid, Win has always feared the water and has never learned to swim… until now, twenty years after Janie went away.

Indeed, the first chapter of Maureen Foley’s Women Float serves as one of the most touching openings in recent memory. A recounting of Win’s ninth birthday, the last birthday in which she had her mother, the chapter introduces complexities, contradictions and metaphors that weave their way throughout the remainder of the work, ultimately juxtaposing her last encounter with the water during childhood with her first encounter in adulthood.

The insights gleaned into Win’s relationship with Janie are palpably heartbreaking, from the baking of her own birthday cake to the terror that her mother would be angry that she went out too far in the water; yet, even as the story unfolds, Janie cannot be fully understood. She’s simply too elusive, for the reader as well as Win herself; and, we continue to come back to the one question that begs answering — What compelled Janie to deny her daughter access to the freedom and power that resides in the unshakable knowledge that she can float?

Yet, this unbidden soul quest is about much more than making peace with the past. Take, for example, the love she holds for her best friend Mia, which is destined never to be reciprocated. Or the lies Win tells that not only convey an altered reality but the denial of her personal truth. Or the mysterious postcards, which only exacerbate her longing. At what point do the visions within her mind’s eye manifest themselves in conscious and mindful action? What does it take for one to liberate herself by letting go of that which does not serve her and to embrace her personal power?

Remarkably, enhancing the genuine sense of presence with which Foley pens Win’s heart is the undulating quality of the writing itself, reflected within imagery that lends a sensuous cadence to the work as a whole. There is very little of a linear narrative in the telling of Win’s story; and, the more we understand her experience, the looser becomes our own grasp on reality. Distinctions blur between the actual and the imagined, surrender and indifference, courage and fear… until Win begins to trust herself to let go… and we choose to do the same.


I have had this book on my shelf for so many years that I actually couldn’t say with any certainty whether I read it or not. I felt like I had, but I couldn’t remember anything about it. So, since I was going to see Lauren Myracle at Leakycon in a couple weeks, I decided to pick it back up and determine that for certain. Kissing Kate is definitely a quick read, under 200 pages, but I feel like it does have quite a bit to offer. I was intrigued by the first page, which seems to drop us in the middle of the typical lesbian teen book plot: Lissa has recently kissed her best friend, Kate, and now they aren’t talking anymore. But Myracle skips all of the build-up to that point and takes us straight into the aftermath, which I appreciated. It feels much more to the point this way, and not like we’re actually missing out on anything, with just enough being revealed through flashbacks.

This isn’t an action-packed novel; it is mostly about Lissa struggling to find herself. And it’s not just coming out. Kate and Lissa have been “Kate-and-Lissa” for so long that she flounders without her best friend. Throughout the book, Lissa begins to open herself up to finding new friends and new things to be excited about, while still dealing with the tension with Kate. It’s not a love story, either, but more of a snapshot of a pivotal moment in Lissa’s life. I loved the added details that made the characters seem more three-dimensional, like the main character’s unconventional family, formed of her uncle, sister, and herself. They don’t fit together perfectly, and Lissa still feels the absence of her parents (who died when she was eight), but they obviously care deeply about each other and make it work. Lissa’s new friends and her employer all have distinct personalities and voices, and they nudge her towards expanding her view on the world. There’s also a whole subplot on lucid dreams that actually was the point when I remembered reading this as a teenager: I found the concept and details so fascinating that I attempted to use what was described in the books to lucid dream myself, so it was obviously a memorable detail.

Kissing Kate maybe isn’t a life-shattering book, but it is a strong book in the lesbian teen genre. I liked that it wasn’t just about coming out, but also about not being so dependent on one other person for your sense of self. And it’s also not a love story, which is different from a lot of lesbian YA. Plus, it gets bonus points for mentioning the possibility that Lissa may be bi. I think this would be a great book to read as a newly out teenager, or just as a quick, satisfying read for anyone.


Anyone looking for a good lesbian love story that takes place in the medieval period should definitely try Lady Knight by L-J Baker. It has a perfect blend of romance, battles, and intriguing characters.

The story opens with Riannon, an open female knight who is rejected by almost everyone who learns her true identity. She is honorable and chivalrous, but people only see her as a misfit. She is saved from a mortal wounding by her cousin, the queen’s sister Aveline, and is now under her services. Aveline is plotting a holy war, and selfishly tries to become a leader of the highest religious order.

Eleanor is a beautiful and wealthy widow, who catches the eye of many a man. But she has had enough of arranged marriages and wants to keep her freedom. When she first meets Riannon, the two have an immediate attraction to each other, and finally they become lovers. But can two medieval women really end up together?

The story is set in a fantasy world with magical healing abilities and charmed swords. Other than that, Baker paints a very real medieval world. The cultures and countries, though made up, strongly resonate with our world. The dialogue between the characters is interesting, as they speak the way a medieval person might have. The customs and the religion are invented so well they are almost real; what with the prayers they utter, and the offerings they make to their gods and goddesses.

I loved the way Riannon and Eleanor’s love for each other was portrayed. They clearly respected each other, and both did a lot of soul searching about their love for each other and what it meant for them. The love scenes were sweet and tender, and their love was so palpable it radiated right out of the book.

Besides the romance, there are some action sequences: battles and duels which Riannon must overcome. There are other hurdles as well, such as Aveline and her sister each using the two women for their own selfish purposes, misogynist men, an impending war, and the ghosts of Riannon and Eleanor’s own pasts.

I love how I came to know both Riannon and Eleanor. All throughout the book, bits and pieces of their backgrounds come to light, and by the end the pieces are woven into a history about each woman. This added more to their already well fleshed out personalities. It also made the book richer in detail.

Lady Knight is a gripping read, as well as heart-warming in places. I’ve read this book five or six times and have never gotten tired of it. For a lesbian/medieval romance, it was everything I had hoped for. Though it may not appeal to some, for others this gem of a novel will make great reading.

[Also check out Anna and Spencer's reviews of this book!]


This book was a wild read from start to finish. It has been a while since I read some truly weird speculative fiction like this. That’s about as specific as I can be about the genre of this book. It was part horror, part paranormal, part science fiction, part fantasy, and possibly meant to be somewhat allegorical. It reminded me a lot of Philip K. Dick, or Cordwainer Smith: the kind of science fiction that is infuriatingly philosophical in a way that is impossible to reason out a real meaning and actually learn anything from it. That is because, of course, these are the types of stories that are meant to draw out feelings and not thoughts. Despite how confusing the narrative was, it did draw me into an emotional connection with the characters. One of those emotions was fear. As I mentioned, there are some elements of horror in this book. There is plenty of gore and death and body horror, so if you don’t like those, you might want to skip this book. If you grew up on creepypasta, X-Files, and horror manga (like I did), Child of Doors may be right up your alley.

The events are told from the point of view of Arc Litchfield, a lesbian who is described as having dark skin and is at one point ambiguously described as “exotic” by another character, leading me to believe she is a woman of color. Aside from that, Arc’s appearance is never elaborated upon, except to say that she is out of shape. So the hero of the story (and she is a hero, in a very traditional sense of the word. It becomes quite clear early on that there is something very special about Arc that no one else in her world seems to have.) a fat lesbian of color, provides representation for demographics who do not often see themselves in this sort of traditional spec fic setting. Every other character is a woman as well, with the exception that proves the rule being the bad guy.

The antagonist, for lack of a better word, is a tall man in a suit, faceless, but with its head cocked to one side as if scrutinizing its potential victims. This is a creature of the type so common in ghost stories and horror media that it is instantly familiar and yet, at least in my opinion, still very scary. This book got me wondering what it is about faceless monsters that drills so deep into our subconscious and makes us so uneasy? I didn’t come up with an answer, but I certainly appreciate the stylistic choice the author made to use the “faceless man” monster in Child of Doors to such good effect.

The problem I run into reviewing this kind of story is that any criticisms I have might just be a case of me “not getting it.” For example, the pacing is uneven and jarring. This might be the author’s method of getting the reader into the mindset of the main character, who experiences blackouts and lost time repeatedly throughout the narrative. I certainly felt myself feeling the effects of confusion and desperation as her terrifying circumstances wore on Arc throughout the story. The narrative was hard to follow, and was left with so many questions and loose ends that I wished were explained better. Perhaps this too was on purpose, for it emphasizes the uncertainty of life and the complexity of the world and of our own minds. It seemed like Arc understood more about what was happening to her than the reader could be expected to glean from the narrative. Maybe her deepest thoughts and feelings of acceptance for her fate and role were her own private business, and the reader, an outsider, can only accept the character’s decisions based on their respect for her agency as a survivor and a hero.

In summary, this book is everything I have been looking for in speculative fiction! A book in my favorite genre with a protagonist who is not a white, straight male? Yes please. It’s definitely the kind of book you have to read at least twice to understand it. I plan to pick it up again soon just so I can enjoy it again, and maybe the second time around I will gain more insight into what exactly happened. Even then, if it’s still unclear, what really matters to me is the beautiful story, the words, the interections, the brief vignettes of normalcy that end up ripped apart by terror and chaos. It’s these elements that make the story resonate in an impressionistic way and feed your mind and your heart. That’s what I love about speculative fiction, and it’s why I fell instantly in love with this shining example of the genre.


Dani Fenton’s life was on the right course. In her younger years, she strayed and got into trouble. But she was able to right the ship. And she helped inspire those around her to get their lives together. Dani runs a business and she employs many young men that other companies wouldn’t hire. And she helps negotiate deals between rival gangs as a side gig. Dani is smart, confident, charismatic, and in control. She has a loyal group of “soldiers” who will help her no matter what.

But there is one thing that threatens Dani and that is Dani herself. Actually, it’s Dani when Susanna, an old flame, reenters the picture. For some reason, Dani can’t control herself or stop herself when it comes to Susanna. Will she throw everything away to be with Susanna?

This is Veronica Fearon’s debut novel and she doesn’t pull any punches. It takes place in present day London and Fearon shows the gritty side of the city and of love. Right from the start, the reader is thrown into a world that many won’t have first-hand experience with. Gangs in London are frightening. There’s always a sense when reading that something can go very wrong with just one misstep.

Dani is an original character. She’s able to teach and control her soldiers by showing them respect and teaching them respect. Dani really understands the young men she interacts with and she knows how to handle them.

But Dani isn’t a perfect character. Her big flaw is her obsession with Susanna. At first I thought Dani would be able to control her obsession, but I soon learned just how far Dani is willing to go. You’ll have to read the book to find out.

While I love flawed characters, Dani’s actions made me uncomfortable on many occasions. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the story. I did, even though it made me uncomfortable. And it made me think.

This isn’t your typical lesbian romance story. If a reader is looking for a carefree novel about two women who love each other, I wouldn’t suggest this one. But if a reader likes character driven stories about love, including the destructive side of love, this might be perfect for you.

I will warn you, there is some violence that might be upsetting. However, the violence is part of the story and part of Dani’s world. It took me some time to adjust to the slang used in conversations. Once I grew accustomed to it, I stopped noticing it and it became natural.

Overall, this is a powerful debut novel and a great start to the series.

FutureDyke   safegirltolove   womensbarracks

Autostraddle posted Drawn to Comics: Lumberjanes #4 has Hipster Yetis, Friendship High-Fives and Archery and 10 Hilarious And Historical Sex Scenes From Lesbian Pulp Fiction.

FY Lesbian Literature posted Why Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Should Have Been Queerer (mild spoilers).

Piercing Fiction posted Why you need to attend a GCLS conference if you read lesbian literature.

Women and Words posted Faces to go with Names.

FUTUREDYKE by Lea Daley was reviewed at Terry’s Lesfic Reviews.

A Safe Girl to Love by Casey Plett was reviewed at Lambda Literary.

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 twitter pageWe’re also on FacebookGoodreadsYoutube and tumblr.


I was looking for a fluffy contemporary romance when I picked up How Still My Love, and with a few caveats, I think it delivered.

The novel follows Beth, a woman who’s thrown herself into work at her successful graphic design studio after the end of a disastrous (and abusive) relationship several years past. Her best friends set her up on a blind date with Toni, a local schoolteacher, and the romance blooms from there. Through a few time skips – some more successful than others – we follow Beth and Toni through a delightful honeymoon period, buying their dream house together, and then smack into the wall of the overarching conflict. Toni desperately wants a baby and Beth can’t articulate just how terrified that makes her. A roller-coaster of miscommunication and misunderstandings follows –including the use of a classic, if a bit cliché Big Misunderstanding – until finally, several years later, Beth and Toni earn their happy ending.

I will admit, I struggled a lot with the first third of this book. Beth’s whacky-but-loveable friends come off as, well, pushy and kind of terrible. Our first introduction to Laurel, her best friend, involves her carelessly injuring Beth in a way that invokes the specter of Beth’s physically abusive ex-girlfriend, with the implication that, tee-hee, this happens all the time. Her company is so tight-knit that everyone shows up to pressure Beth to go on this blind date she’s really quite opposed to. I eventually warmed up moderately to Laurel and her husband, but they had to combat an awful first impression.

Toni, on the other hand, is lovely once she’s introduced. She seems to be nice, attracted to Beth, and a generally sweet and sensible person. Honestly, for that first chunk of the book, I would have rather been in Toni’s head, not Beth’s. Beth falls head-over-heels in lust with Toni at their first meeting, and head-over-heels in love with her after three days. And during that time period, there’s a great deal of tell, not show, language. Everything Toni does is ‘sexy.’ Her hair twirling, her dimple, the never-identified nail color on her toes. Toni is also written with instant mind-reading powers – she reads Beth like an open book, which juxtaposes oddly with their later communication problems.

Thankfully, after some significant time skips – three weeks, six months for a single chapter, three years later – the novel smooths out. Toni’s significant flaws fill her out as a character, and we see Beth grow up a lot over the intervening time. Without going into any more detail, I will say that Beth and Toni are a brilliant demonstration of the importance of couple’s counseling. Still, I did feel like they deserved their happy ending, and I was glad to see them find it.

Overall, How Still My Love is a decent contemporary lesbian romance. If you don’t mind fairly simple prose and a dash of misunderstandings and family-related angst in your fluffy romance, you’ll probably enjoy it.


I debated whether or not to review this book at the Lesbrary. It’s definitely not a lesbian book, but it is queer, and since I have a policy of reviewing every book I read that could be posted here, I decided to go ahead. I found Polymorph in a crowded used bookstore while travelling, and picked it up because the idea of a person who changes their body completely at will was fascinating to me, especially since the back cover promised to play with gender. And the other factor was that this is by Scott Westerfeld! I’m pretty familiar with Westerfeld’s books, working in the kids’ section of a bookstore, but I’d never heard of this one. He usually writes teen books, that in my experience are entertaining, but fairly forgettable. It turns out that this is his first novel, written in 1997, and it diverges hugely from his now established genre. It’s adult sci fi, and it’s challenging and sexual and queer. Look at that front cover blurb! Poppy Z. Brite (known for her queer horror books)! And the back cover shows a blurb by Melissa Scott, author of one of the most well-known lesbian sci fi books, Trouble and her Friends! This is not the sort of company Westerfeld’s books share now.

Needless to say, I was very curious picking up this book. And as I started it, I was immediately hooked. Our main character, often (but not always) known as Lee, calls themselves a “polymorph”, because they can change their body at will, though not without a huge amount of effort. Lee spends most of their time trying on different faces and hitting the clubs, studying anatomy texts and club goers to perfect striking, distinct bodies. Around this depiction of Lee everyday life, Westerfeld builds up an interesting view of the near future. In fact, because this is written in 90s, the future it depicts would be about now. It has a cyberpunk feel, with technology and the internet constantly a presence in the background of the novel (reminding me of Cory Doctorow’s books). I loved Westerfeld’s depiction of the future, which felt much more thought-out than his Uglies series. It’s a little bit odd, because most of it still seems possible for the near future, but it also has a 90s feel to it, a slightly dated future world.

But the aspect that drew me to Polymorph and captured my attention so thoroughly at the beginning of the book was the queer nature of being a polymorph. Queer in both the gender/sexuality sense, and also in the theory sense. Lee has no sense of permanent identity. They are just as comfortable in a “male” body as a “female” one, and also changes race throughout the book, noting how this aspect changes how they are treated. In a way, it’s a critique of racism, but the casualness of putting on another race made me hesitant to see how it would be handled throughout the novel. (Small spoiler: it’s not really addressed, but Lee was born Dominican and grew up as this identity until they began to change their body, in their teens.) Lee also mentions sleeping with men and women, gay and straight in the past. In fact, near the beginning of the book, Lee goes to a lesbian bar that they regularly frequent.

As I’ve mentioned, this was really promising for the beginning of the novel. Unfortunately, though the premise of the book is extremely queer, Westerfeld doesn’t seem to be able to follow through on it. You may have already noticed the binaries in Lee listing their lovers as men or women, gay or straight. Although bisexuality is mentioned once (the club has a “bi-night”), that sort of binary still seems to be the established norm. And though Lee is this person with no connection to a certain body, sex, or gender, there’s still quite a lot of transphobia mentioned. Lee sees “transvestites” in the street and notes that they are all “really” men. It’s also interesting that there is a scene, where Lee is changing their body from one with a vagina to one with a penis (which Lee does every time they want to change gendered bodies, though it’s apparently the most difficult thing to change), and pronouns change from she to he as soon as Lee forms a penis.

[Spoilers follow]

The scene that really solidified Westerfeld’s inability to realize this queer premise, though, is when Lee encounters another polymorph. This take place at the lesbian club, and Lee doesn’t realize that the other person is a polymorph at first. They begin to full around, and eventually Lee realizes, because Lee notices that this person has an essential essence different from themselves, which is that this person was born male. Because apparently even polymorphs, who have no “home” body and switch genitals, gendered characteristics, etc, constantly, still are really either men or women. And then Lee discovers that this person has come into a lesbian club with a penis, and it is appalled, because “this is not a place for pricks“. In fact, Westerfeld somehow manages to write a book about someone who changes gendered bodies at will without acknowledging the existence of trans people. And this is in addition to some questionable depictions of race. There is a Japanese, deaf character in the book, but there’s also a scene of Lee pitying him for being deaf, though Sam is extremely wealthy and seems pretty satisfied with his life.

Perhaps more damning than the offensiveness of certain aspects in Polymorph is the plot. I was completely engrossed in Lee’s everyday life, but once it reached the actual plot of the book, I lost interest. Lee discovers another polymorph, but he’s a monster. (I say “he” because Bonito seems to prefer it, and Lee insists he’s a “man at heart”.) Lee tries to track him down, with  a new boyfriend and his hacking friend, and hopefully prevent him from doing something heinous and also meet more polymorphs. Bonito is such a flat, evil-for-the-sake-of-it character (though with a little contemplation for how he could have ended up that way) that I found any part of his story boring. I prefer my villains complex, even sympathetic. Although dramatic, it wasn’t particularly interesting, and I was particularly disappointed with it ending with Lee getting raped (in the most horrifying, consuming way possible).

I’m glad I read Polymorph, because the first 50 pages or so were worth it, but the rest was disappointing, mostly because I feel like Westerfeld has this great idea, but his own cissexist worldview didn’t allow him to fully imagine it.


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