The Lesbrary has moved!

Hello everyone,

The Lesbrary is now at http://lesbrary.com! What’s the difference? Well, nothing, except that it’s hosted somewhere other than wordpress, and I have some more freedom to play around with the layout and ad options. Because I kept the lesbrary.com address, I didn’t think there would be any need to redirect, but I realize now that if you followed https://lesbrary.com in a RSS feed reader, you might not be getting the new posts! If not, try subscribing to http://lesbrary.com (no “s” in http) to get new content!

Thank you, and I’m sorry for the delay in letting you know!

Megan Casey reviews The Small Town Series by Iza Moreau

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It’s not that hard to review an entire series of lesbian mysteries as long as you read them consecutively and within a fairly short time. Unfortunately for the genre, many series novels are just the same book written again and again with different minor characters who commit slightly different crimes. The Kylie Kendall mysteries by Claire McNab, are a case in point. Kylie solves cases for Australian clients while trying to find a way into her gorgeous colleague Ariana’s fashionable trousers—that’s pretty much all you need to know—and all you will remember. This is not to say that the Kylie Kendall mysteries are not enjoyable: they are. It’s just that there is no history in them; the characters do not evolve. Kylie is funny and uses quirky Aussie slang, but by the third book you are pretty tired of the same old.

The Small Town Series by Iza Moreau is quite different. In this literary, four-book series, the main characters age, mature, and even move on, all the while solving mysteries that range from quirky puzzles to serious crimes in their small community in north Florida.

In the first novel in the series, The News in Small Towns, Sue-Ann McKeown is introduced as a successful war correspondent in Iraq. She is called home to her small home town of Pine Oak, Florida after her mother dies in a riding accident. Burned out by the war and suffering not only from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but also from a debilitating illness called Graves Disease, she decides to stay in Pine Oak, the only job she can get being that of a lowly reporter for the town’s small newspaper. And if things are not bad enough, the business manager for the newspaper is none other than Gina Cartwright—her old high-school nemesis—who just happens to be dating the editor. And that’s when the fun—and the romance—starts.

And hey, Sue-Ann is not only a pretty famous reporter, she was once an alternate on the U.S. Olympic archery team: she carries a bow and she knows how to use it. She is also a dedicated lower-level dressage rider. She is helped in her adventures by an elderly, napalm-scarred Vietnam veteran called The Creeper who lives in a mysterious compound in the woods with other battle-scarred solders—and with his grandchildren Gamma and Smokestack, who are the main deejays in the pirate ratio station located within the compound.

Unlike McNab’s Kylie and Ariana, who seem to have been born with the word DYKE tattooed to their foreheads, neither Sue-Ann nor Gina initially considers herself a lesbian. Remember that they both grew up in the 1970s in a very southern, very rural, very homophobic area. One of the strengths of these books is that, in addition to being fast-paced adventures, the author chronicles the doubts and fears and surprises of both Sue-Ann and Gina as they grow closer and closer together. Their relationship, in fact, overshadows the mystery in the book, which has to do with the very odd subjects of animal sacrifice, voodoo, and parental neglect.

madness-in-small-towns-iza-moreauIn the second book, Madness in Small Towns, Gina disappears, and Sue-Ann, in addition to solving a couple of puzzling mysteries—one having to do with a murderous escapee from a mental hospital who seems intent on skewering her with a samurai sword—has to find her. As in the first novel, there is a chapter about Sue-Ann’s 6-month posting to Baghdad—the friends she met, the boozing she did, and the tragedy she experienced there.

The third book, Secrets in Small Towns—which delves into the shadowy subject of child molestation in halfway houses—shows Sue-Ann and Gina as a happy, but still-secret, couple. In a small town in rural North Florida, not only could neither afford to come out, but no one else could either, so they lived their lives in the type of vacuum that so many gay women and men in small towns find themselves sucked into.

Well, why don’t they just leave? For one thing, Sue-Ann loves her job at The Pine Oak Courier, especially after she takes over as editor in Madness. She is also reluctant to leave the farm that her mother worked so hard to build, and the horses that live there. But mainly it is because she has already had her moments of glory and excitement. She is no longer interested in reporting—or shooting arrows—on the world stage. Been there, done that. She simply wants a quiet life with Gina

Those who are familiar with Robert van Gulik’s series of mysteries featuring Judge Dee in 7th Century China, know that his mysteries make use of the ancient tradition of writing in that era, having Judge Dee solve several cases—sometimes unrelated—in the same novel. Moreau follows this tradition, although her plotlines always merge at the end. Each book includes a chapter flashing back to the Iraq war and generally shows her skill both with horses and with her bow and arrow. And, of course, with her developing relationship with her former rival.

The fourth book in the series, Mysteries in Small Towns, is a collection of short mysteries featuring Sue-Ann and Gina. Although this is not unusual in the general mystery genre—we are all familiar with Agatha Christie’s books featuring short stories about Poirot and Marple—it is rare in lesbian mysteries, with only one other author—Barbara Wilson—attempting to augment her series novels with stories. Moreau’s short stories are, unlike her novels, more traditional mysteries with more obvious crimes and criminals that have to be brought to justice.

So the series is important on a number of levels, but maybe the most rewarding is the evolution of Sue-Ann’s and Gina’s relationship. They go from assuming their absolute heterosexuality to admitting that they are interested in each other—but just in each other. They then run the rest of the gamut of suspecting that they may be bisexual to finally eschewing men altogether and accepting that they are lesbians through and through.

For those readers that dislike reading about heterosexual sex, be warned; there are a couple of man/woman couplings in the beginning of the first novel, The News in Small Towns, but they are included to provide a realistic background for both Sue-Ann and Gina. If the subject offends you, either begin with the second book or read something else. Author Moreau has posted on her website that there will be no further Small Town Series books, but the four that she has left us will probably be around as long as there are lesbian mystery readers.  All four are available separately as inexpensive e-books or you can buy all four for under $10 from most e-book retailers.

For more than 200 other Lesbian Mystery reviews by Megan Casey, see her website at http://sites.google.com/site/theartofthelesbianmysterynovel/  or join her Goodreads Lesbian Mystery group at http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/116660-lesbian-mysteries

Jess van Netten reviews Poppy Jenkins by Clare Ashton

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Poppy Jenkins is a refreshing lesbian romance with authentic characters and a wonderful sense of humour. Prior to reading this, I was at our local public library with my wife, whinging about how I wanted a whimsical Euro-romance in the style of Maeve Binchy or the more modern Cecilia Ahern. To my delight, I got all of the Welsh whimsy I could ever want in my reading of Poppy Jenkins.

Clare Ashton writes delightful, detailed characters throughout Poppy Jenkins. Both the protagonist, Poppy, and her childhood crush, Roslyn, are fleshed out (quite literally!) with strengths, weaknesses and character development and feel both realistic and romanticised. In fact, the physical descriptions craft a vivid, living mental image of moving body parts, the Welsh country side and small town communities. I felt all at once a spectator and part of the community as I laughed along with the local side stories that are littered throughout the novel. Poppy’s family, including her quirky mother, quick grandma and youthful little sister, interact naturally throughout the plot, adding depth and colour instead of just being placeholders.

I won’t speak much about the plot itself; girl meets childhood crush again later in life – will they spark up again? There is underlying current of chemistry between Poppy, the out lesbian, and Roslyn, the seemingly straight friend, that moves the story along at varying speeds. At times, it reaches fever pitch, with sexual innuendoes providing very funny conversations between the leads. I laughed out loud many a time, explaining little plot points to my wife as though talking about my friends.

I loved the lighthearted yet genuine plot and i devoured this book. It has been some time since I have read such a well written lesbian romance, that treats its characters as more then stereotypes or cliches. I have already sought out Clare Ashton’s other books and look forward to delving deep into her other worlds. Thank you Clare for your wonderful novel; for treating the lesbian leads as real characters and making the love scenes genuine. You have set a new standard for me to compare all other lesbian books to!

Lesbrary Patreon Giveaway!

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It’s time again for the monthly Lesbrary Patreon giveaway!

The Lesbrary and its tumblr Fuck Yeah Lesbian Literature have a Patreon page, and every month, patrons who pledge $2 or more a month are entered to win a free queer women book!* (*no, you don’t pay for shipping, and yes, it’s open internationally)

Pictured above are some of the (most photogenic) books available this time around!

I’m so grateful to anyone who supports me on Patreon or even just spreads the word about it, because it gets me one step closer to being able to devote more of my time to the Lesbrary, FYLL, and booktube. My dream is to be able to work my day job just a little bit less than full time and to be able to spend the rest of the time promoting queer women books, which is my favourite thing to do.

Support the Lesbrary Patreon page here and be entered in the giveaway!

The Lesbrary is Looking for More Lesbrarians!

Do you love reading queer women books? Feel like talking about them at least once a month? Want to be buried in an insurmountable pile of free lesbian ebooks? Join the Lesbrary!

Once again, I am looking for more reviewers at the Lesbrary! You just have to commit to one review a month of any queer lady book and in return you get forwarded all of the les/bi/etc ebooks sent for possible review. You also get access to our Edelweiss and Netgalley accounts, where you can request not-yet-released queer titles.

If you’re interested in joining the Lesbrary, send me an email at danikaellis at gmail with a sample of your writing. We’d love to have you on board!

You Know Me Well Blog Tour and GIVEAWAY!

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You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Levithan is out June 7! Haven’t heard of it yet? The description is

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark 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.

A book told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour, the award-winning author of Hold Still and The Disenchantments, and David Levithan, the best-selling author of Every Day and co-author of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green), You Know Me Well is a deeply honest story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.

David Levithan is one of my favourite YA authors, and I’ve only heard great things about Nina LaCour, so I’m really excited to read this one! And what’s better, the Lesbrary is hosting a giveaway for a copy!

To enter, just comment saying why you’re excited to pick up You Know Me Well and on June 1st I’ll randomly draw a winner! Good luck! (Unfortunately, this giveaway is US only.)

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Link Round Up: February 17 – 29

juliettakesabreath   familytooth   TheLastNude   joy of lesbian sex   SomethingIntheWine

Autostraddle posted

Lambda Literary posted Ellis Avery: On Writing Through Grief, Sickness, and Recovery.

Ylva Publishing posted Lesbian Fiction: There’s More To It Than Throbbing, Moaning and Fading to Black.

bull and other stories   PriceofSalt   daughterofmystery   carol   lilliantrilogy

“This Year’s Oscar Nod To “Carol” And Lesbian Love” was posted at Huffington Post.

Bull and Other Stories by Kathy Anderson was reviewed at Lambda Literary.

Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones was reviewed by Shira Glassman.

The Lillian Trilogy by Mary Meriam was reviewed at Autostraddle.

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera 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 twitterWe’re also on FacebookGoodreadsYoutube and Tumblr.

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

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 AfterEllen.com 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!

Link Round Up: August 24 – 30

funhomemusical   aboutagirl   cherokeerose   undertheudalatree   leavingnormal

Alison Bechdel‘s Fun Home was included on a summer reading list at Duke University and several students refused to read it for “moral reasons”. The original article is at The Duke Chronicle and several other outlets have covered it, including Slate, Jezebel and Book Riot.

About a Girl by Sarah McCarry was reviewed at Afterwritten.

The Cherokee Rose: A Novel of Garden and Ghost by Tiya Miles was reviewed at Lambda Literary.

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta was reviewed at Women and Words.

Leaving Normal: Adventures in Gender by Rae Theodore was reviewed at Autostraddle.

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!