Tag Archives: trans

4 stars for Transformed: San Francisco (Charley & Electra #1) by Suzanne Falter & Jack Harvey @suzannefalter #Trans #Thriller #BDSM

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Title: Transformed: San Fransisco (Charley & Electra #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Suzanne Falter & Jack Harvey (New Heights Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: February 9th, 2016 — 214 pages

Synopsis

Charley McElroy is a handsome, well-heeled travel writer and CIA informant who also happens to be an F to M transman. And he’s having a midlife crisis.

Charley gets suspended by the Agency after forgetting to pay his taxes. Only days earlier, yet another marriage proposal has been spurned. In his grief and confusion, Charley befriends Electra, a high-powered Manhattan socialite-turned-dominatrix rebuilding her life in San Francisco. Then he meets Frankie, a disgruntled lesbian police sergeant who has been demoted by the SFPD for being a whistle blower.

Together they uncover a Christian fundamentalist’s lethal plot to destroy the ‘hedonists’ of San Francisco. Yet, neither the SFPD nor the CIA will take the threat seriously due to the trio’s outsider status.

Can they get anyone to listen to them? Or are they on their own?

Find out in this funny thriller filled with San Francisco’s spectacular scenery and inimitable, quirky characters.

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Review

FourStars

I had a little trouble getting into this book, to tell the truth. Then I sat down and really got past whatever my little hang-up was about, and ended up getting sucked into a great story. There are several themes going on here in addition to the big plot about domestic terrorism. Charley and Pamela – excuse me, Electra, both have issues with being who they are inside. Charley is a transman whose Grandfather accepted him for who he was inside and helped him start his transition at the extremely early age of 10. I wish every trans person out there had somebody in their life like Charley’s Grandpa. Charley has grown up as a male, but he still hasn’t done the last thing to make his change complete – bottom surgery. He lists several reasons for this, most of them pertaining to the fact that the surgery isn’t perfect and there’s a chance he won’t come out of it with functioning body parts. And there’s a lot of scarring involved on other body parts if he goes through with it. He’s contemplating it again, because it seems that his lack of a male appendage is heavily impacting his love life. Electra is trying to find herself after a messy public divorce that included extremely private details about her being a Domme with some of her friends’ husbands. She’s moved to San Francisco to start over in a more accepting environment, only to find that acceptance absent in the circles she moves in. Until she meets Charley.

The two hit it off, in spite of several things, including a significant age difference. There are sparks between them, but Electra tries to ignore them because Charley’s so much younger than she is, and Charley is hesitant because he fears rejection when he reveals to Electra just what kind of man he is. Into this fragile beginning come Frankie and Randy. Frankie is a SFPD sergeant who’s been blacklisted by the corrupt cops she was supposed to be exposing. Randy is a religious fanatic who’s decided the Lord has commanded him to bring His righteous wrath down onto the heads of all those San Franciscan degenerates. When Randy meets Electra, he decides that her murder would be the perfect opening salvo in his moral religious war. Charley, Electra, and Frankie are all that stand between Randy and his goals.

Interestingly enough, there are book club questions at the end of the book that are there to help readers discuss things about the book. I read through some of them and found the questions fascinating, and my answers a bit revealing. I’d love to discuss the book in a book club setting. That would be awesome! Of course, I’d have to be part of a book club first, and second, it would have to be a book club that would read and discuss this type of book.

This book was engaging and entertaining, and kept me turning page after page. It forced me to look at some of my own attitudes and biases. I might not have all of them resolved, but reading more and learning more helps me keep opening my mind and breaking down barriers. I am very much looking forward to another book in this series. I love how the relationship develops between Charley and Electra and I love the ending. I want to know more about what happens next for Frankie, even though she isn’t exactly a main character. I definitely want to read more.

~AmyP

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New Release: Torque by Charley Descoteaux (Author Interview) #Bisexual #Menage @CharleyDescote

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Title: Torque
Author Name & Publisher: Charley Descoteaux (Samhain Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: February 23, 2016 –

Synopsis

Sometimes letting things get complicated is the best way to figure it all out.

Mick Randall is on the run, from the biker culture he grew up in and his impossible vision of love. Alaska should be far enough to escape his old life—until he rolls into a wrecking yard and gets lost in a pair of pale, bottle-green eyes.

Scotty Bell has spent years learning to channel his fiery temper into the heat of a welding torch. His sexual heat has always been slower to ignite, but one look at Mick rouses confusion alongside desire. In all his life, he’s only been attracted to one other person—his best friend, Mercy Taylor.

Mick lands a temporary job at the yard, and finds an uneasy crash pad at Scotty’s place…where the ragged ends of his emotions get tangled up in Scotty and Mercy’s relationship.

But when Mick hears a Harley engine from his past bearing down on him, his first instinct is to go back to the half-life he’d been living. Lest his secrets destroy the only two people who’ve ever made him feel whole.

Warning: Contains references to abuse, subversive ideas about sexual identity and gender expression, and a free-range bisexual on a mission.

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Excerpt

Mick slept on the couch for two weeks before Scott let him get dinner. Mick brought a pizza, hot wings and a six-pack. When he offered Scott a beer, Mick thought for a second he was about to get decked.

“No thanks, I don’t drink. But you go ahead.”

Mick put five bottles in the fridge and popped the top on the sixth. The long pull of rich beer felt like cool water after he’d been walking for weeks in the desert.

“Never?”

“Nope. I got enough of that before I was even born, I don’t need any more.”

It only took half a beer for Mick to get past the uncomfortable feeling he should’ve asked Scott to tell him more, or that he should’ve switched to Mountain Dew. Scott rented an On Demand movie, something forgettable with vampires, and they sat in their places on the couch and divided their attention between the movie and the pizza for the next two hours. Tom camped out in his usual spot between their thighs, graciously accepting all the chicken and pepperoni tributes offered to him.

After the movie was over they watched another one on HBO, but didn’t pay much attention to it.

Mick had a nice buzz going and was happy to sit back and listen to Scott talk about his project—the VW Microbus he was converting into a flatbed. A warm, fuzzy feeling Mick almost didn’t recognize as happiness set up camp in his gut, and life was good.

He thought, more than once or twice, that Scott leaned toward him in a way that was a little more than friendly, but it had to be the beer.

Too bad.

Mick jerked in surprise when he realized he’d started to lean toward Scott. He had no right to be “more than friendly” to Scott. None at all.

Scott reached out to grasp his shoulder. “You okay, Mick?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Are you ready for bed?” Scott kneaded his shoulder, sending a current through his body.

“The movie isn’t over.”

“It’s not very good. If you don’t want to finish it, that’s okay with me.” Scott smiled and sat back against the couch, releasing Mick’s shoulder.

He couldn’t help himself, he leaned forward. Only a little bit. He didn’t want to lose Scott’s touch. In that moment, he couldn’t think of anything more important than Scott touching him, not even self-preservation.

Mick Randall wasn’t a stranger to self-medicating with alcohol but before he found Bell’s he hadn’t had a lot of money to spare, and lately he hadn’t had the time. Together, those circumstances had turned him into a lightweight. That had to be the explanation for why he saw a come-on in every glance and heard innuendo where surely Scott didn’t mean any. He’d have to be a lightweight to want so badly to respond to Scott’s touch with an embrace.

Maybe I should quit drinking.

Mick wasn’t capable of walking in a straight line by the time he hit the can, but it didn’t matter.

Four beers was plenty and he’d take the other two out of Scott’s fridge the next day and remember not to bring more. If he wanted a drink, he wouldn’t have to drive far. When he left the bathroom his thoughts centered on that warm, happy feeling, and what he could get up to the next day. Before he knew what was happening, Scott had him backed against the wall, both hands spread across his chest.

All that fuzzy warm happiness disappeared, replaced by a tiny shiver of panic mixed with a side of relief. The relief tangled with a mix of “fucking finally” and “what the fuck” that made Mick dizzy. Or maybe that’s just the beer.

“Scott. Maybe I should sleep somewhere else tonight.”

“Yeah. Like in my bed with me.”

“I was thinking like my car, or a motel.”

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5 Star Review for Mr. March Names the Stars by Rivka Aarons-Hughes #Trans #Ace

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Title: Mr. March Names the Stars
Author Name & Publisher: Rivka Aarons-Hughes (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date: March 16, 2016

Synopsis

Wes loves his life traveling the Pagan festival circuit, but he loved it more when he wasn’t harangued by women a little too fond of his picture in a popular charity calendar—a calendar that mucked up his bio by stating that he’s single, but leaving out that he’s not straight.

Wes’s appeals to the company to change the bio come to nothing until Nash, a lawyer from the company, shows up and promises to do all he can to fix the problem. But though Wes quickly grows fond of Nash, and the interest seems mutual, the calendar problem shows no signs of being fixed…

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Review

FiveStars

This is a quick, fun read. Mr. March, AKA Wes, wants his bio changed in the calendar he posed for. Nash is a low-level lawyer assigned to talk to him. They have an almost instant chemistry, bonding over their shared paganism and asexuality.

Unlike a story where it’s low heat because everything is off-page, this is low heat because there isn’t anything to have off-page. I always love well-written ace characters because it’s about more than “not doing it.” The way in which Nash and Wes express their mutual interest is sweet, romantic, and well-done. I also loved that the main conflict between them had nothing to do with their orientations.

There’s plenty of humor and heart in this story, and it’s just the right length for an afternoon read.

5 stars

~Amy M.

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New Release: Best Laid Plans by DC Juris #Trans #Romance @DCJuris

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Title: Best Laid Plans
Author Name & Publisher: DC Juris (Torquere Press)
Publication Date & Length: January 27, 2016 – 20k

Synopsis

Disowned by his family for being transgender, Kale drained his bank account and set out to go as far as the money would take him. He planned to make a new life for himself. But when the money stopped, he found himself homeless, his plans pretty much screwed.

Perry set out to pay a male hooker to slake his lust. Instead he found a handsome young man who insisted he wasn’t a prostitute. A little bit of convincing, a flash of money, and one random Tuesday turned into once a week, and Perry found himself in dangerous territory. After all, the plan wasn’t to fall in love. Previously published by Breathless Press.

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Excerpt

Kale peered into the car without getting any closer. He didn’t recognize the older man behind the steering wheel, didn’t really know anyone in this town yet. “Can I help you with something?”

“Probably.” The guy grinned. “How much for a blowjob?”

A fiery blush steamed up Kale’s neck. “Oh. I’m not um…” He glanced down at his clothing—red button-up shirt, jeans, boots. He wasn’t dressed like a hooker, was he? Then again, what did male hookers dress like?

“Fifty bucks?” the guy asked.

“No, you don’t understand.” Kale shook his head. “I’m not um…working. I’m just…” Just what? Just a runaway disappointment.

“Fine. Make it a hundred. C’mon. Get in.”

His eyes went wide. A hundred dollars? For a blowjob? A hundred dollars would get him a room at a motel and a meal for the night. And a blowjob wouldn’t take all that long. But he’d never done anything like that before with a stranger. The guy looked pretty clean. How bad could it be? Just a few minutes’ work, turn his head, spit, and take the money. “I don’t swallow,” he blurted.

The guy shrugged. “I don’t care.”

The words hit Kale with full force. The guy didn’t care. Not about him, his story, why he was out here on the streets in the first place. Not about his past, present, or future. Not about anything beyond his mouth. Kale frowned.

“You coming or not?” the guy prompted.

“Show me the money.”

He held up a hundred dollar bill.

If the guy would pay a hundred dollars for a blowjob, how much would he pay for something else? But Kale had seen way too many Lifetime movies about runaways-turned-prostitutes who got into cars and were never seen again. He puffed out his chest and straightened his shoulders, tried to look like he had some kind of guts.

“Okay, but we’re not going to a skeevy hotel or your house or anything. Got it?”

The guy shrugged. “Whatever.”

Kale looked up and down the street and reached for the door handle. The car, like the guy, looked clean and tidy, smelled nice. He smiled at the green, tree-shaped air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror, and tried not to think of that scene in the movie Seven where the cops found hundreds of the things hanging in the sloth victim’s apartment.

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5 Star and 4 Star Reviews for What a Difference a Day Makes by B.A. Huntley #FF #Trans

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Title: What a Difference a Day Makes
Author Name & Publisher: B.A. Huntley (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date: March 9, 2016

Synopsis

A day can last an hour or an eternity, as three friends learn in the final moments leading up to wedding they’ll be attending—one as the bride, two as the bridesmaids. Allison waits impatiently for her wedding night, the first night she and Jason will be together, worried that he won’t trust her to see his body. Lane reconnects with her on again, off again girlfriend, and Slim meets Joy, who tempts her into the sort of fling that’s never interested Slim before.

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Review

FiveStars

This is a really cute, fun story about three friends at the wedding of one of them. It’s short enough to read in an afternoon and has elements which appeal at a number of levels.

There really isn’t a whole lot of plot. This is pretty much about the relationships between the women and their significant others. They’re all at different stages, but they have a long-standing friendship. I loved the heart-to-hearts between them as well as the witty banter. The side characters were interesting as well, and none of them felt flat or like stereotypes. The sex was gloriously hot and ranged from fun to sweet to emotional.

To me, this felt like a celebration of women’s sexuality and friendship. It didn’t have a whole lot in terms of character development, and there wasn’t much dramatic tension. Instead, we got a peek into the lives and loves of these very different women.

A terrific short work, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Ms. Huntley in the future.

Amy M.

FourStars

I must admit that I haven’t read many trans books, and I’m not exactly sure you could say this is one, since the trans men in it aren’t main characters. But the whole book revolves around the marriage of one main character, Allison, to a trans man, and I was fascinated by the way the author wrote about it. I wish I knew of more real life stories that went as this marriage did. It was awesome that the attitude of everybody in the story was simply that he was a man, and that was that. The other two main characters are lesbians, and they’re having a bit of a time too, as they all get ready to watch one of their best friends get married. One is unsure about whether she even still has a girlfriend, and reading about Lane and Pabla’s story makes you quickly understand why that is. You do keep pulling for them though. This is one of those stories that makes you want so much for them to work things out, all the while wondering if they really can. Then there’s Slim and Joy. These two just make me smile. They’re having a fling, even though it really isn’t Slim’s style. But they’re having a lot of fun and a lot of hot sex. They leave things in a sort of ambiguous place, both wanting to continue to see each other, but Joy is not into relationships while Slim doesn’t know how to have sex outside the confines of one. The whole book is full of humorous incidents, harrowing tensions, and borderline bridezilla moments, along with a lot of people talking the bride off the metaphorical ledge. A very enjoyable book, and I’m glad I got the chance to read it.

Amy P.

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3.5 Star Review for Wonder City Stories by Jude McLaughlin #M/M

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Title: Wonder City Stories
Author Name & Publisher: Jude McLaughlin (Createspace)
Publication Date & Length: November 18th 2015- 294 pages

Synopsis

Megan Amazon’s life was a disaster: terrifying stalker ex, weird celebrity mom, you really don’t wanna know. She decided to run, run far, run fast, run… to Wonder City. Wonder City: where an eight-foot-tall woman could try to blend in and make a normal life in a city of superheroes and superzeroes. Where else could she meet up with a retired superhero with a brain-dead son and a daughter-in-law who could fall for Megan’s new BFF Simon? Or almost accidentally kill a superhero noob like Nereid, who’s just trying to pass her college classes and get into her supergroup, and really didn’t intend to fall in love with her (provisional) teammate? Everyone has their secrets. For some people, like the Ultimate and the Fat Lady, secrets are their stock in trade, while others don’t know half the secrets they’re carrying around. Megan thought her own secrets would be safe as long as she kept one-night-standing her way through the local queer scene, but sooner or later, everything will come out. And everyone will come into their own, whether they want to or not.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

I went into this book with excitement and high hopes, but have to say that I was a little disappointed. The biggest problem I have with the book is that there are so many characters that the book was filled with too many plotlines. It was hard to choose exactly who should be the hero/heroine simply because the reader was brought into so many different story lines. The easy answer to this is that all of them were the main characters, but that really means the focus of the book was scattered and blurred between too many different wants and desires. Also, the first half of the book just seemed like a series of scenes or vignettes strung together. While each may have been interesting and enjoyable, I didn’t get the sense of any real plot or direction for the story. Sure, all these characters were tied together by what happened at the end, and that may have been the author’s entire point, but it’s a bit hard to read through the ambling lives of so many characters just to see how they all end up in the same place at one particular defining moment in time. The other problem I had with this device was that the narrating of everybody’s lives made it difficult to get involved with any, so I felt distant from the characters’ feelings and motivations.

The last thing I’ll say is about how the heroes/heroines are treated. There is a sense of wonder about the idea of superheroes. That’s why comics are so enduring, even for adults. Superheroes give us a chance to be powerful, strong, intelligent, and good enough, right along with those whose deeds we’re reading about. I understand the movement nowadays to make superheroes more human, more relatable, by giving them flaws and moral dilemmas and crises of conscience that make them make mistakes. But what we have in this story makes me feel like the superheroes in this city are jokes, that they’re egotistical brats that insist on getting things their way, and that they have little regard for those around them. And the sad part is that when they’re older, and a bit more broken down, they’re thrown away, made irrelevant, by the very society that once depended on them. Just like our own elderly. And that’s just sad.

I suppose at the end of the book, I would say I enjoyed the story. But I feel the beginning could have been pared away immensely. I also would pick up the second book in the series to see what happens next, to give Wonder City another chance to hopefully live up to its name.

Amy P.

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4 stars for California Skies by Kayla Bashe #Bi #Genderqueer #Trans @kaylabashe @LT3Press

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Title: California Skies
Author Name & Publisher: Kayla Bashe (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: January 13, 2016

Synopsis

Bandits came looking for the legendary emeralds belonging to Maggie’s family, killing her older brother and scarring her face. She can’t change the past, but finding the jewels will help her injured sister recover. In need of reliable muscle, she goes to an old friend of her brother’s: tough-as-nails nonbinary bounty hunter California Talbot.

While Maggie expected hard roads and violence, given the tragedy that provoked the journey, she wasn’t expecting the bar fights, snakes, and bandits to be the easy part—and the difficult part to be a growing attraction to someone who’d probably never look twice at her mutilated face.

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Review

FourStars

This was a very enjoyable read. I liked the characters and how the author showed their past friendship as well as why California would be interested in helping Maggie out. I like when characters have that tension between them and have those feelings for each other and yet don’t realize that the other person feels that way. It builds expectation and can result in some very humorous scenes. The one thing I did have a problem with is the use of they/them as a pronoun for a trans person. It took me a while to realize Bashe was only referring to one person, which I found confusing. When I realized it was being used to refer to only California, this sort of plurality made me think there were two people inside the character. And there were times I had to reread passages to make sure I was clear on who exactly was being referred to. I can only hope that some gender neutral word comes into widespread use so this type of confusion can be avoided in the future.

~AmyP

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