Friday, November 1, 2013

YA Book Review: Darkness of Morning by Samantha Boyette



Darkness of Morning by Samantha Boyette is a young adult fantasy novel. The second in the Guardian of Morning series, it follows the relationship and otherworldly adventures of two girls who grew up human but actually aren't.

The lost princess of a magical kingdom and her soulbound guardian are meant to be together. Unfortunately the princess has powerful enemies and a very self destructive personality. Much as her guardian loves her, there is only so much she can do to protect her from evil and herself.

I reviewed the first book here, and it follows on very well from it. It's a much stronger book, in story and characters, although it has a lot less world building because most of that has been established. Which means you're probably best off starting from the beginning. Actionwise, not a huge amount happens. The plot is quite clearly a three parter, and this is the "Empire Strikes Back" episode. Again, you should probably read all the books in a row.

Book Review: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters



Fingersmith by Sarah Waters is a classic. It's a historical lesbian crime novel of trickery and intrigue and madness and gentry and the London underworld, and it's so much not what I expected The impression I had of Fingersmith was of a London girl who gets talked into a scheme by a slick conman associate to go somehow trick some poor naive rich girl into losing her fortune. And that it ended badly and was probably a beautifully written but depressing slide into closer affection and inevitable betrayal, and possible the tragic death of one of the girls. I never really felt up to a whole book of that. But fortunately, that was absolutely not what it was.

Oh, the first part's true enough, it's the entire premise of the book, but after that? No. That's when everything changes. The elaborate scheme based on entrapping the naive rich girl, with the accidental seduction between the two, was only the beginning. It was, in fact, the context, the first act, the introduction to the real story.

I picked it up because a very nice reader contacted me to point out that I hadn't reviewed any of Sarah Water's most famous historical novels, and I promptly rushed out and borrowed a copy. And then spent about three weeks reading it in bits and pieces (I've had a busy month! I'd normally have finished it in a day). Fortunately, it held up both to the piecemeal sampling, and the final 'devouring of the last third in one go'. It's a pretty dense novel, with lots of vocabulary and settings and things to keep track of (like who knew what), but the cast is a reasonable size and the characters are distinctive.

It's also one of those stories that has some major plot twists, and it really changes the story if you know what comes next, so please understand that this is one of those rare reviews that doesn't analyse the entire book in detail because TWO THIRDS OF IT IS SPOILER. Twice. Yes, twice. This book is like Inception written by Charles Dickens. None of our characters really know what's going on, they all betray each other at some point, and our narrators are textbook unreliable.

Enjoy.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Book Review: After The Night by Rachel Dax

After The Night by Rachel Dax is a historical romance. In the 1950s or 60s in England , a quiet, good girl called Leah Webster takes a job in the formidable Deepdown women's prison, where she encounters the stern, remote warden, Jean McFarlane.

Amongst the drama of prison, which comes with built in drama, it turns out that she isn't quite so perfect and that Jean is actually pretty sweethearted lady, with tragedy behind her, and the two get swept up in romance. Unfortunately, this is at a time when homosexuality was still officially illegal, providing an unpleasant counterpoint to their desire.

This was actually a pretty good story. I reread it nearly a year later, because I never got around to reviewing it, and it held up very well to a second reading. Probably a good pick for reading while waiting for the next Orange is the New Black episode.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Non-Human Lesbians in Fantasy Fiction (Mermaids, Elves and Immortals)

Considering the rich scope offered by fantasy, there are surprisingly few inhuman lesbians. This is a list of fantasy (paranormal, high and science fiction-ish) books featuring main, or major, lesbian elves, angels, ghosts and goddesses, as well as other miscellaneous beings.

Some of the names/species are best guess approximations, as some characters are never labelled in their books, or are given a different, unique name.

Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves and other Shapeshifters are not included, because they have their own subgenres of (mostly) paranormal romance, and there are too many to bother re-listing here, so check out the individual lists of each.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Book Review: Aftermath by Ann McMan

Aftermath by Ann McMan is the follow up story to Jericho. You may remember Jericho as the romance novel I raved about back in January 2012. Jericho is a fantastic book, though it won't appeal to everyone, and Aftermath is more of the same: wine, background histories all over the place for everything from bleachers to cars to people, lots of words, easy companionship and a great deal of banter.  Jericho was the great literary classic for the ages, this is the lighter, shorter, tale of gossip, rural legends and wine, in which we get to stay in touch with the people and township of the original story.

While Jericho was a romance, this is more of a ramble through local gossip, family, and the events in the area. It's a safe, entertaining read, where you get to just relax with old friends. I don't actually know what genre I'd call it; I guess I'm just going to describe it as "general fiction". It follows up with the main people we met in Jericho, showing us their lives a couple of years later, and giving us a chance to enjoy the status quo that they spent all of Jericho getting to. Basically, it's not nearly as good as Jericho, but if you enjoyed that book, then you'll find Aftermath a very worthwhile followup.

The main stories are the gradual rebuilding after the hurricane, the progression of Syd's divorce and the inevitable return of Henry's father. Henry is the little boy that Syd and Maddie, our lesbian main character couple from Jericho, sort of adopted, while his father was in Afghanistan.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kill Me by Alex Owens

Kill Me by Alex Owens is a vampire story with a twist. It's the first book in the Blood Chord series, and the twist is that it's done well. I don't mean differently; this is a paranormal vampire erotica that follows the same old formula, but the writer gives it power.

This is a vampire novel that hits all the cliches that makes vampire stories so popular and then rewrites them, owns them or turns them completely on their heads. If you've ever thrown a book across the room (mentally, I could never hurt a book) because the heroine is vapid and perfect, and keeps running back to her abusive vampire owner/lover/soulmate, and been super disturbed by the power imbalance, or been exasperated by her teenage brattiness as she pretended to be independent, or hated the way that everyone hunted her out just because of her specialness, then this is a book for you. This is a writer who looked at their characters and decided to see if she could break them. And actually considered how they would react.

More of a novella, than a novel, I read it easily within a couple of hours, but for the story, it was the perfect length. Any more story would have thrown off the pacing, dragging it out needlessly, or would have been the beginning of the next story (and there is a sequel). I was expecting it to be a bit longer, was wondering about the pacing a little and then realised I was halfway through the book and had to readjust my expectations. It would have worked perfectly well as an origins short story, and that's basically what it is; Claire the Vampire's origins.But it packs in so much that this is a ridiculously long review for a short story. Admittedly, a lot of this review is pointing at irritating vampire romance tropes and laughing at them, because this story makes them look even sillier.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lawyer Romances & Other Lesbian Lawyer Books

Check out some
Lesbian Lawyer Books on Amazon!
(and yes, I totally drew this awesomely
sexy sapphic heart)
Looking for lesbian lawyer romances? Whether you want a smart lesbian attorney that gets distracted from her ambitious case loads by a pretty face, a brave lawyer rushing in to protect a woman in need, or sparks flying and eyes clashing between two women across a courtroom, then break out your legal metaphors because there are quite a few books out there.

Lawyers are a pretty popular profession in lesbian romance, because they're smart, successful, and often socially powerful people who can be lonely and overworked, save the day, work strenuously to protect an innocent, or provide a threat in the form of complicated legal problems. All of these are perfect conditions for romance! And if you like your lawyer books to be a bit more meaty, there are some lawyer mysteries as well.

There's also a list of law-related nonfiction at the end, in case the fiction whets your appetite for some real legal research.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Graphic Novel Review: Madame Xanadu: Exodus Noir

Madame Xanadu Vol. 2: Exodus Noir is a graphic novel from Vertigo, featuring a magical murder mystery of the crime noir type, and a historical love affair in 15th century Spain, with our protagonist, Madame Xanadu, central to both.

Madame Xanadu is an immortal witch, or gypsy-like person, who wanders the world helping solve supernatural problems for people, using Tarot cards to discover things. She's sort of a miscellaneous background character in DC comics, linking stories together, popping up to help solve problems, and generally being mysterious. She was created in 1978 for the Doorway to Nightmare stories, and this volume is part of the Vertigo series, "Madame Xanadu", which was published in 2008-2010.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Getting Your Book Reviewed on Good Lesbian Books

This is an update and a reminder on our reviewing policies, as we're getting an increasing number of questions about those.

Firstly, the number of review requests we get has skyrocketed since this site first started. We now get far more requests than we can actually read in a month, even when we're not taking random months off to get over burnout or because we're sulking over blogger updates. If I went and accepted every request in our inbox right now, not only would it take me all day, but it would probably book us up for the rest of the year, and leave us no time to read older books, or random ones (I tend to trawl the free books on Amazon and Smashwords, grab them and then read them whenever I get around to it), or compile lists and reading guides. We're probably going to have to figure out a new way to handle requests - a random draw or something!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pet Peeves and Problems in Lesbian Fiction


Lesbian fiction is not perfect, hampered by its limited audience, niche genre status and porn associations. This is a round up of thoughts about the problems and current status of lesbian fiction and lesbian book publishing, from typos to sex to Xena. Some of it is just general analysing, some of it is actually practical advice for writers, some of it is venting as a reader.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Depression in Lesbian Fiction

Depression is one of those silent, awful mental illnesses that you may not even realise you have, until it's too late. Women suffer disproportionately from depression, and lesbian/bisexual (or otherwise GSM) women are even more likely to be depressed, due to the many stigmas and difficulties gay people still face.

This is a booklist of fiction featuring main lesbian characters that suffer from depression. Some shrug it off, some are nearly crippled by it, but all of these books deal with depression in some significant way.

This is not a comprehensive list, but I only know of many of these books because I actually read them; the descriptions do not always mention depression. Further suggestions are welcome!

There's a much longer post about mental illnesses, but the depression section got a bit long, so it's being posted separately.

Book Review: The Two Princesses and the Battle of Tresent by Carey Casile

The Two Princesses and the Battle of Tresent by Carey Casile  is a fantasy adventure story that's um. Not that good.

I picked this up for free on Amazon (and also saw it on Barnes & Noble where it had a suspicious number of glowing reviews), and it has since been taken down, but as I have already written the review, and on the off chance copies are still floating around and you're wondering whether to read it, here it is (also because I had great fun writing the review and don't want to waste all these scathing sentences). Speaking of sentences, that was a pretty long one.

This story. Was. Terrible. Each sentence was fine, even good, but they often had no real connection to the sentences around it. This is not a short story. It's a novel, which has had every other line snipped out to save space. 

The plot is cringe worthy, though it could be developed into something great, if it was ever fleshed out. But basically the princess loves her servant, who dressed in rags while the princess is pampered, the King is evil and marries her to an evil prince, she conspires to escape with her beloved and tries to (quite remorselessly) murder the prince, who is understandably upset and tries  to execute them. They escape, end up in a nearby forest full of undead and monsters who prepare to kill them, until they're rescued by the dead Queen's long lost lady love. They then learn sword fighting and archery in two days, mount up on flying unicorns and lead an army of creatures back to kill everybody in the area, including the prince and the King, to create a new reign of acceptance and tolerance. After which the princess almost single-handedly wipes out and routs and invading army, and then marries her beloved.

That summary? Was more coherent than the original story. And don't even get me started on the mental whiplashes involved.

Looking for something good to read instead?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Lesbian and Her Bodyguard: A Romance Book List

The bodyguard romance is a well established trope of romance fiction, and lesbian romances have their fair share of deadly, professional bodyguards and their lovely, rich wards.  Most of the books are light romance, but there are a few fantasy novels as well.

This is one of those topics that's difficult to find books for, unless you actually read them, as the bodyguard role isn't always described as such. So this is a pretty short list, for the moment.

Book Review: Lunatic Fringe by Allison Moon

Lunatic Fringe by Allison Moon is a original and interesting werewolf story. It is also complicated, deceptive, frustrating and mystical, and if you aren't paying attention, details can fly right over your head, and just as you start accepting a situation it twists around and changes. I had to read it twice before I could even decide what to say about it. And it makes it a little difficult to summarise the plot, as some of the better bits are major spoilers and really change the context of earlier events.

It's a thinking lesbian's werewolf story.

Essentially, it follows teenaged Lexie as she moves away from home to go to College for the first time, where she gets swept up in pack politics and a feminist group out to protect people from the evil men werewolves. She finds them a bit overwhelming, but feels an instant attraction to one of the girls. And then a tree crashes through her room, and a mysterious woman called Archer turns up to take the wood, and Lexie, away. And then it gets mystical. Also soulmates happen.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Filthy Figments: A Porn Webcomics Site for Women

Art by Gina Biggs
Filthy Figments is a bunch of webcomic artists' answer to the lack of porn for ladies. I reviewed it a long time ago under the NSFW webcomics list, but it's still going strong (it was pretty new then) and has grown, so it's worth pointing out again. Also has lots of pretty banners by different artists, so I'm going to see how many I can sneak into this.

Featuring some pretty major webcomic names (as well as quite a few minor ones), it's a collective site hosting very, very NSFW comics. All the writers are women, and most of them are pretty good. The webcomics range from manga to realism to cartoons, straightforward sex to stories that just happen to get explicit, BDSM to tender first lovers (but not rape - dubious consent is tagged as noncon and is rare). Aside from the purely lesbian content, there are also several genderqueer and gay male stories and plenty of heterosexual, or difficult to categorise ones (e.g. tentacle monsters, multiple relationships), and a few where the ladies are bisexual, magically genderswitched, or futanari. There's also a reasonable range of body types and ethnicities.

You can read a lot of smaller sized. censored previews for free, or you can pay for subscription access and get full sized comics and access to everything, including a very comprehensive tag system. The artists get paid out of that money, so it's worth it. All comics are exclusive to Filthy Figments.

But, but, but is it lesbian? 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Our Nineteen Bestselling Books & Short Stories of 2012

It's time to look back over 2012 and announce the most popular books of the year! These are the nineteen books that we sold most often. I'm happy to say that there are some fantastic books here, including most of my top picks for the year.

There's a nice mix of old and new; young adult and adult; romance, contemporary, fantasy, sexy, serious and sweet. And lesbian fairy tale retellings are still very popular!


The Top Five!


1. A Hole in the World by Sophie Robbins



2. The Gunfighter and The Gear-Head (The Raven Ladies) by Cassandra Duffy
  • A smart, sexy and fun dystopian steampunk story of an American future aliens have knocked society back to the wild west, and two women start causing some serious sparks. Also, steampunk BDSM.
  • Read the full review!
  • Buy on Amazon!


3. The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer 
  • This one's an longstanding favourite, a charming young adult retelling of the Persephone myth. Come join the young goddess and her dark, brooding lady Hades.
  • Read the full review!
  • Buy on Amazon!


4. Jericho by Ann McMan
  • Aha! One of my favourite lesbian romances! An epic literary tale of friendship, wine and wittiness, following our two lovely ladies as they work their way into each others hearts.
  • Read the full review!
  • Buy on Amazon!


5. Roses and Thorns by Chris Anne Wolfe
  • Another fantasy romance, this is a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale, with magic, misunderstandings, a brave heroine and her dark and lonely lover bringing lesbian life into the old story.
  • Read the full review!
  • Buy on Amazon!

The Runner Ups!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Book Review: Straight out of University by Rosen Trethiwick

Straight out of University is an ... interesting book. Interesting, frustrating, sexy and boring, by turns. It's a sort of memoir/coming of age/romance following the early adulthood of Sophie Sweet.

Sophie Sweet is a confirmed bisexual; the first chapter follows her, questioning and bicurious, into a gay event where she is nominated and crowned the Queen of Lesbians (well, an equivalent title) and outed to the entire university. She lets this happen because she is busy being utterly enthralled by a gorgeous and confident woman who sweeps her off her feet and into bed.

She has several years at university in Oxford, finally completing her PhD, and has a short string of memorable girlfriends, and lesbian sexy times, then heads back to Cornwall to see her parents, after her dad has a heart attack. She spends the second half of the book waiting to hear back on corrections for her PhD, and being stifled by the locals. And falling in love with a local Cornish man. Sorry, but this is definitely a bisexual book, so please don't go into it waiting for the lesbians to come back.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book Review: Xianne by Jayce Grayson


Xianne by Jayce Grayson is a science fiction story following a group of more or less bisexual characters, and our asexual narrator, as they sign onto a spaceship for a journey into SPACE. And sex. Space sex. Icky space sex that the poor asexual character has to keep averting his eyes from, and then being surprised when they take time out from sex to be nice to him. That... kind of sets the tone of the story.

I had major problems trying to review this book, because it sets itself up for something impressive, but really, really doesn't follow through, switching into a completely different kind of book after the introductions. To be honest, I think if it had been clear from the start, I would have liked it better.

Not actually a 'lesbian' book, this is more of an LGBTQA friendly book. Our narrator is a man, but wait - don't run screaming yet. Set a few centuries into the future, when Earth has discovered space travel but humanity is still heavily concentrated around Earth and influenced by recognisable cultural references (more on that later), our protagonist is an asexual in a world of sex maniacs sexually promiscuous people. This was the first book in a proposed series. It could become really interesting, and I can see how it would work, but I put it down feel exasperated and cheated. A lot of that was because I started reading something really different.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Lesbians in Sport: Fiction & Nonfiction

This is a quick list of fiction and nonfiction books about lesbian sports players in which the sport plays a major part of the story or subject matter. It's not a complete list because 'plays sport a lot in the book' isn't always an easy thing to search for and some only made it onto here because we'd read them (but it's been sitting around in drafts for ages, so we'll add to it as we find more).

Women in sport have historically had plenty of problems, usually being relegated to 'lesser' sports and roles, so there are plenty of nonfiction books looking at that - both the queer aspect and the gender aspect. There are also several butch sporty types in romance and young adult books, and even a couple of self defense/martial arts teachers.


The adult lesbian books are mostly about tennis, and are mostly romance (but then, aren't most lesbian books?), while the YA books are generally about basketball and softball, and all the biographies are about the tennis star Martina Navratilova.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Lesbian Television Series

There are a very few television shows that feature lesbians as central characters, but there are some good ones out there. This list focuses on series,or seasons, or just episodes - in which lesbian characters were central to the show.

I know, I know, this is a book review site. But I needed somewhere to put this list! It's not complete, but I'm working on it. Currently, it's more of a 'recommendations/shows I would like to see' list, than a all powerful guide to lesbian television.

  • The L Word was a ground breaking series - a glamourous drama show entirely, and openly, dedicated to lesbians. And as such, it deserves fame and recognition.
  • Orange Is the New Black is a prison drama that began airing in 2013. It is set in a women's prison and includes lesbian main characters.
  • Seeking Simone is a web series about a single lesbian hooking up with online dates - the first episode is cringe worthy, but it improves significantly! Plus, it's free. The story is narrated via a webcam, with flashbacks as Simone recalls her experiences. You can start watching on YouTube here.
  • Los Hombres De Paco is another fantastic lesbian series. Unfortunately, it's in Spanish (English subtitles) and often out of stock.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess Created before lesbians were mainstream, the relationship between Gabrielle and Xena is real and intense, and by the ending of the show it was hailed as one of the greatest lesbian series of all time. It is also to blame for causing many women to question their sexuality and an enormous amount of Xena uberfic! You can watch Xena online here. 
  • The Real L Word is a reality tv show set in Los Angeles, and is a spin off of The L Word.



Episodes Worth Seeing in Non-Lesbian Shows
These shows are well known and 'mainstream', and feature episodes, or entire story arcs, with prominent lesbian characters. They definitely take a bit more explaining though. This is by no means a comprehensive list!



Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Fourth Season
In the fourth season of Buffy, Willow comes out as a lesbian and starts dating Tara, which continues into the fifth season. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an awesome and brilliant show, anyway, but the natural way their relationship is handled makes Tara and Willow a very special lesbian couple in mainstream media.

There's a gradual falling in love throughout the season that's very sweet to see, and they finally come out in episode 20 (The Yoko Factor). You can watch Season 4 of BtVS online here (spoiler: it ends badly, but Willow remains lesbian throughout the rest of the series, with a minor relationship sideplot in the final season).

 Best Other Work Category, Gaylactic Spectrum Awards

  • Shortlisted 2002, 2003, 2004
  • Winner, 2001




Star Trek Deep Space Nine - The Fourth Season 
Star Trek stands true to its theme of exploring frontiers and features the first lesbian kiss in space - and one of the very first lesbian kisses on television at all.

Two symbionts, Dax and - both currently inhabiting the female hosts Jadzia and Dr. Kahn - meet again and discover they are still in love in Episode Five of Deep Space Nine. "Rejoined"

Watch the actual kiss on YouTube! (And you can watch the whole episode on Amazon Instant Video)




Season Five, Episode 5. Lucky Thirteen
While it's not a lesbian show, it's gay friendly and has a prominent (and hot) bisexual woman.

Thirteen (as named by House) is the smart, bisexual doctor on House's team, and in episode Lucky Thirteen she finally hooks up on-screen and falls in love. Sort of. This is House after all, and he can't resist playing master manipulator.

(You can just watch that episode online, or get all of Season Five for context).

This isn't a complete list, suggestions are welcome.


You May Also Be Interested In:


Monday, July 29, 2013

Book Review: None So Blind by LJ Maas

None So Blind by LJ Maas is a romance and a friendship between two soul mates, who, after years of trying to stay away from each other, have to connect again to rescue their daughter from the pit she's falling into.


Narrated in switching timelines, the story follows Torrey's difficult relationship as a single mother to an unruly, rebellious teenage daughter, and her flashbacks to her college years and early adulthood with Taylor, before they parted ways over mutual boneheadedness. Years later, after over a decade of stubbornly pretending not to be in love with each other, in case the other one ran away screaming, Torrey finally calls on Taylor to take her daughter for six months. This, naturally, leads to them finally throwing themselves into each others arms, having all the sex, setting themselves up as a family, and admitting their feelings. Not quite in that order.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Book Review: A Walk in the Rain by Alison Barnard

A Walk in the Rain by Alison Barnard  is a romance between an actress and a famous composer. It's very well written, actually edited properly, and features a delightful musical spin. Also, oh my library gods, the Amazon description is awful. Don't pay any attention to it.

Jessa is a reclusive, workaholic, insecure, genius classical composer and conductor, who has reluctantly agreed to being turned into a documentary, and Shara is picked as the lady to play her. This provides a perfect way to force Shara into her life, as the obsessive method actress who comes and studies her, providing the perfect set up for a lesbian romance.

And when I say 'lesbian romance' a certain plot probably flashed into your mind, of meeting and swooning and attraction and tragic misunderstanding, followed by reconciliation and lots of lesbian sex and a happily ever after.

And you'd be right. Half right. This is actually a long and solid novel that combines the initial romance with its own sequel, and while they do feel like two distinct sections that could have been separate books, that second half is what brings A Walk in the Rain up from well written and enchanting, but predictable romance to a real story with real people and real character growth and real conflict. And a lot more romance. The second arc, however, is mainly Jessa's issues and insecurities and previous relationships coming back to bite them.

I enjoyed the book. I found the first half predictable, but looking back from the very end of the story it's actually a nice solid set-up to the second half. I did occasionally want to just reach into the pages and slap the characters silly, as like most romance plots, they brought their tragic drama entirely on themselves. But their flaws were acknowledged and explored in the second half (and touched on in the first), so I stopped being annoyed at the 'everything is perfect and we are destined for each other, but woe tragedy' dance they did in the beginning.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Picture Book Review: Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman


Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman follows a little girl’s first day at kindergarten (or play group). It’s a fairly simple story, but includes some oddly difficult words (such as veterinarian), mixed in amongst the normal prose.

Originally published in 1989, it is extremely notable for being the first picture book ever published that features lesbian characters. It has been rewritten and republished as an anniversary edition, which works far better for its audience. The original book suffered far more from age inappropriate content, such as an attempt to discuss artificial insemination, poorly written for a young audience. 

Despite the 'lesbian parent' aspect, the book is not a one note story. It appeals across the spectrum and touches on other aspects of diversity and growing up. It looks at different kinds of families, and features a diverse range of ethnicities and genders.
The illustrations support the text, but don’t replace it. They are rather lovely drawings, colourful but not garish, and easy to interpret.




This a good book to prepare for the first scary day at preschool (although it reads at a slightly older level), and the many different types of families described make for a good teaching moment, and will allow children from different families to identify with the story. There will be a few words that need explaining, but the book is fine for 6-8 year olds.
Buy on Amazon: Newman, L. (2000). Heather has two mommies (20th anniversary ed.) (D. Souza, Illustrator). Los Angeles, CA.: Alyson Wonderland

Picture Book Review: My House by Brenda & Vicki Harding

My House by Brenda & Vicki Harding is a picture book for four or five year olds. It's short, and quite small, with short sentences accompanying the pictures.
The storyline is more of an ‘about me and my family’ than a progressive plot. It is short and uncomplicated, but with enough variables to be suited to the older end of the 0-6 range. In it, the little girl describes her pets (two dogs and a cat), and how they interact. It opens with a page about her two mothers, presented matter of factly, and then ignored for the rest of the book.

The illustrations are bright and colourful and easy to understand, but crude, although this may be an adult eye. There are enough details to hook a child in, without them being over complicated.

I wouldn’t consider it a literary great, just a nice filler book to help a child on the way to literacy, that is both identifiable and educational. It is part of a series, which follows the little girl along. It's also one of the very few LGBT picture books available in New Zealand. It is part of series, which follows the same characters through various minor events (such as getting a dog).

This book is pretty hard to find outside of New Zealand. You can keep an eye on Amazon, but otherwise, here are the full details:  Harding, B. & Harding, V. (2002). My house (C. Bray-Cotton, Illustrator).  Beaconsfield, N.S.W.: Bulldog Books.



Sunday, July 7, 2013

Just a quick note...

...to say this site IS still alive, nothing major has happened, and we'll be posting again soon.

We stopped posting because:

a) Blogger changed it's format, which absolutely wrecked my reviewing flow, and I left half a dozen posts unfinished and waited (never a good move!), thinking I'd get used to it. I'm now half used to it. It's not bad, it just messes with the mindset I get into when I write reviews.
b) I discovered... eventually, that I needed new glasses, but had a few months of headaches every time I picked up a book, so I haven't been reading much.
c) classes! I went back to uni, and Cress is still at uni, and it's scary how busy that makes you.
d) once something drops off the list and you're already 'late' with it, it becomes very, very easy to keep procrastinating on it in favour of other things. Also, that includes avoiding the email account because I know it's going to be stuff to the gills with emails.
Also e) it's still scary how many people want stuff reviewed. We may have to change how we accept stuff (only take requests in the first week of the month or something), because it takes far too long to get through them all, and this site was originally set up largely to review existing fiction, and I'd like to read more of that! There's also a fair backlog of old posts and things that I really want to edit or finish off properly, and of course, the lists all probably need updating!

So, that's just an update, in case you're wondering. And possibly worrying about that book we said we'd review for you!