Tag Archives: rainbow

4.5 Stars for The Other Me by Suzanne van Rooyen #trans #lgbt #ya

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Title: The Other Me
Author Name: Suzanne van Rooyen
Publication Date & Length: Dec 18, 2013 — 218 pgs

Synopsis

Fifteen-year-old Treasa Prescott thinks she’s an alien. She doesn’t fit in with the preppy South African private school crowd and feels claustrophobic in her own skin. Treasa is worried she might spend life as a social pariah when she meets Gabriel du Preez. Gabriel plays the piano better than Beethoven, has a black belt in karate, and would look good wearing a garbage bag. Treasa thinks he’s perfect. It might even be love, as long as Gabriel doesn’t find out she’s a freak.

As Treasa spends time with Gabriel, she realizes she might not love him as much as she wants to be him, and that the reason she feels uncomfortable in her skin might have less to do with extra-terrestrial origins and more to do with being born in the wrong body.

But Gabriel is not the perfect boy Treasa imagines. He harbors dark secrets and self-destructive tendencies. Still, Treasa might be able to accept Gabriel’s baggage if he can accept who she longs to be.

Review

FourandHalfStars

This is a fairly quick read, as it’s young adult and not long. It’s relatively fast-paced, as I expected. The YA genre and length should not be deterrents for anyone interested in the subject, however. This was hands-down one of the best works of YA queer fiction I’ve ever read.

It is the story of a South African trans teenager, though it is also in part a love story. Not merely in the romantic sense (though there’s a bit of that too) but in a general sense, including self-acceptance and love between friends or family members. Most people, not only teenagers, would be able to relate to the themes of feeling like an outsider and of being trapped in a life or body that feel wrong.

The first thing that impressed me was that it’s about a trans boy. More often than not, trans fiction focuses on people living their authentic lives as girls/women. Of the several YA tans-themed books I’ve read previously, all were about trans girls. The second thing of note is that it’s told mainly from Treasa’s perspective and with Treasa’s feelings about actually being a boy. Other books have told trans stories mainly from the perspective of lovers or family members. Finally, the last thing that stood out was that Treasa is also not straight. Again, the vast majority of my previous readings have involved trans people who are presumed gay until they transition, but Treasa maintains a preference for boys throughout.

Another aspect to Treasa’s identity as a gay boy is that often, trans stories are incredibly binary. In other words, someone “proves” to be a “real” boy because of a love for sports and typically masculine pursuits and interests. Treasa is, even as a boy, still somewhat gender-non-conforming. I appreciate that the author didn’t go overboard to assure us just how much of a boy Treasa truly is.

Those things alone make the book an absorbing read. In addition, the two main point-of-view characters, Treasa and Gabriel, are both very different from the teenagers who populate many YA novels. They both have secrets and things about which they feel hurt and shame, however, both are highly sympathetic characters. They are the sort of people who feel like friends after reading their stories. Characters are always my favorite part of any story, and I found myself drawn to both of them.

The only things about which I had any concerns are a few minor implications. First, Treasa muses that it must not be normal for a girl to want to write fan fiction about two boys. It’s hard to tell whether this is the author’s view as well or whether Treasa just feels like an “alien” already that everything is suspect.

My other concern was that Gabriel insists throughout the book that his few very minor gender-non-conforming behaviors (mainly music and nail polish) don’t make him gay. But he does it to the point that I couldn’t help wondering who he was trying to convince–himself or the reader. Again, it was hard to tell if this was the author’s insertion of her views or genuinely part of his character, an unwillingness to question his own sexuality. This becomes particularly important towards the end of the story.

These concerns are not reasons to dislike the book. On the contrary, they provide excellent talking points. Rather than making assumptions about the author’s intent or rejecting the book for perceived flaws, we should have open dialog about what those things mean.

Overall, I rank this as one of my all-time favorite YA books. Despite the fact that I’m well past the target age and rarely read the genre, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I recommend it to anyone who has adolescents, in part because the beginning of empathy is understanding. Provided the book is still in print, I fully plan to make sure my kids read it when they are older.

I give this book 4.5 stars.

~Amy

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AuthorBio

Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing, she teaches dance and music to middle schoolers and entertains her shiba inu, Lego.

Suzanne is also the publicity manager for Entranced Publishing and is rep’d by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.

Works include:
Dragon’s Teeth (Divertir)
Obscura Burning (Etopia)
The Other Me (Harmony Ink)
I Heart Robot (Month9Books)

SocialLinks

Facebook
Twitter: @suzanne_writer
Author’s Website: suzannevanrooyen.com

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Amy, Review, Trans

5 Stars for Girls Only: The Complete Series by Selena Kitt – #F/F @SelenaKitt #LBGT

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Title: Girls Only: The Complete Series
Author Name: Selena Kitt
Publication Date & Length: July 21, 2014 – 178 pages

Synopsis

Get ALL of Selena Kitt’s series – Girls Only – the complete collection, in one big book for one low price! 

Selena Kitt’s *Girls Only*—where the girls get naughty together, but it feels oh, so good! These stories contain hot panty-melting girl-on-girl action!

Included in this collection: 
New Year’s Resolution
Sybian Sorority
The Hairdresser
Pajama Party
Moms’ Night Out
Girl Scout Trip
Pool Party
First Time
College Days
Stay

———-

New Year’s Resolution 
Tina’s New Year’s resolution brings out the explorer in her partner, Beth, and the two women go on a mission to find the perfect new toy for their sexual adventures.

Sybian Sorority 
Violet has a huge crush on her first college roommate, Chloe—but Violet can’t confess, because nobody knows Violet prefers girls. Chloe invites Violet to join the Eta Nu Pi sorority and Violet can’t resist Chloe’s persuasive argument, but when the girls find themselves involved in an erotic, mind-blowing hazing, both of them discover something about themselves—and each other.

The Hairdresser 
When Amanda’s hairdresser, Jen, discovers Amanda’s first gray hair at a routine appointment, it prompts a re-examination of more than just Amanda’s roots. As the two women commiserate about the dangers of getting older, they discover more in common than bad boyfriends—and a day of beauty and pampering turns into a night of sexual discovery and pleasure.

Pajama Party 
April plans one last sleepover at the end of the summer so she and her best friend, Casey, can do all those girlish, silly things together before they have to go be grown-ups in college. But when a game of double-dog-dare goes too far, the girls find themselves saying a far more heated goodbye than either of them had planned.

Moms’ Night Out 
Jaime and Caroline hit it off right away, both single mothers with young children. Jaime and Caroline jump at the chance for a Moms Night Out, but nursing mother Jaime doesn’t plan on how painful the night might be. When Caroline offers a unique solution to Jaime’s problem, together the two women not only save their night out, they discover one more delicious thing they have in common!

Girl Scout Trip 
Paige isn’t looking forward to chaperoning her younger sister’s Girl Scout Troop for a camping trip outing—burning S’mores, telling the same old ghost stories and listening to little girls giggle all night long—until she meets the new Girl Scout Troop leader, Brandi.

Pool Party 
When her new neighbor, Gina, moves in, shy Nancy gets invited to her pool party, but she isn’t quite ready for all the attention she gets in the bikini that Gina’s loaned her. And she definitely isn’t ready for that drunken, crazy point in the party when everyone abandons their bathing suits altogether!

First Time 
Molly likes babysitting for single mom, Faith. She’s younger and cooler than most of the other people she sits for and Molly finds herself lingering at the end of the night, asking the older girl questions about life and love… and sex. When Faith comes home a little drunk and a lot horny, Molly finds that tonight, Faith has some show-and-tell answers to her provocative questions.

College Days 
Wild and crazy college roommates Whitney and Meg end up at a local fraternity party where Meg, furious at her boyfriend for cheating on her, is looking to even the score. Whitney has no problem backing up her friend in her time of need, so when a drinking game gets out of hand, the two girls put on a show that will go down in fraternity history. Who knew? Turns out revenge is a dish best served up blazing hot!

Stay
Claire has experienced a great loss, and is facing another one—and she just doesn’t know if she’s ready to deal. Dr. Mary Rennalls looks at beautiful Claire with more than pity and compassion, but will the two women find solace in each other’s arms, or will Claire’s fear of losing yet another loved one keep her from trusting again?

Review

FiveStars

I’ve never read Selena Kitt before but I’ll tell you after reading this I will be looking for more of her work!!! The tens short stories are EXTREMELY sexy and naughty. Every story was very well written with believable characters that sucked you in and made you wish you were there yourself! They are all solid Woman/Woman encounters. Some are first time experiences while others are women that have been with other women before. Such a great combination all around for every story in this collection!

~Renee

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AuthorBio

Selena Kitt is a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling and award-winning author of erotic fiction. She is one of the highest selling erotic writers in the business. With over a million books sold, she is the cream-at-the-top!

Her writing embodies everything from the spicy to the scandalous, but watch out-this kitty also has sharp claws and her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.

When she’s not pawing away at her keyboard, Selena runs an innovative publishing company (www.excessica.com) and in her spare time, she devotes herself to her family—a husband and four children—and her growing organic garden. She loves bellydancing and photography. She also loves four poster beds, tattoos, voyeurism, blindfolds, velvet, baby oil, the smell of leather, and playing kitty cat.

Her books EcoErotica (2009), The Real Mother Goose (2010) and Heidi and the Kaiser (2011) were all Epic Award Finalists. Her only gay male romance, Second Chance, won the Epic Award in Erotica in 2011. Her story, Connections, was one of the runners-up for the 2006 Rauxa Prize, given annually to an erotic short story of “exceptional literary quality,” out of over 1,000 nominees, where awards are judged by a select jury and all entries are read “blind” (without author’s name available.)

SocialLinks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SelenaKittFanPage
Twitter: selenakitt
Author’s Website: http://selenakitt.com/

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Filed under 5 Star, F/F, Renee, Review