Friday, September 30, 2016

October is Harry Potter Month!


Hey Everyone!

I wanted to let you know that on my blog ShootingStarsMag, October will be Harry Potter month. If you are not already following me on Twitter, please do, as I'll keep tweeting out links to the various posts and giveaways throughout the month.

I'm sharing here because there are a couple posts that I plan to write about on this blog concerning HP in honor of HP month. I wanted to make sure that you knew MORE will be posted on my other blog though, including all of the giveaways. There will be at LEAST 10 giveaways throughout the month and some are open to Canada and a couple are International, so keep an eye out!

If you would like to write something concerning HP, let me know! I'd be happy to find a spot on my other blog, or if you write it on your own blog, let me know and I'll share it!

Finally, feel free to use the graphic above to spread the word. Just link it back to my ShootingStars blog so people know where to look!

-Lauren

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Liebster Blog Award: Get to Know Me!


I was nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by Verushka from pop.edit.lit - you can read her nomination post here.

First, I'll answer the questions that Verushka asked of the people she nominated.

1. What are you reading right now and why did you pick it up?

I'm reading Overexposed by Megan Erickson as an e-book. I picked it up because I loved the first two books in the series and Erickson writes m/m romance SO WELL.

2. What is your fondest library or bookstore memory?

I don't know if I have just one! I remember visiting a local children's bookstore when I was younger and loving it. I used to volunteer with the teens before I began working in libraries, and that was fun because I got to help with all the events!

3. What is your favorite genre to read, but what trope in that genre would you be glad never to read again?

I used to read mostly contemporary, but I do love other things these days. Regardless, I'd still say my favorite is contemporary. One trope that needs to be done a LOT less is the whole "best guy friend is oh-so-secretly in love with the main character." Guys and girls can be friends, and that's it. Make it happen more!

4. What genre just doesn't do it for you?

I like to be open to things, but I'm not interested in anything Western. I don't know if I've read anything under that genre, but it never sounds at all intriguing to me.

5. Is book blogging everything you thought it would be?

Well, I didn't start out as a book blogger, so I can't really say. I think it's a fun community and I find most of the books I want to read these days by looking at other blogger's reviews.

6. Which book or movie character do you wish had a blog you could read?

I love this question! I'd take almost anyone, but I think The Joker could be really cool and I'd love to see what Luna Lovegood from the HP books would write about.

7. Do you always read the book before the movie?

No, but if it's a book I've been wanting to read, then I try and read it beforehand because I'd rather know what's going to happen instead of having it be ruined by the movie.

8. Which movie made you way more excited than the book version?

I don't know if there was one. Normally I love the book and that's why I see the movie. There are a plenty of movies I've seen that are books but I just never read them.

9. What country in the world would you like to find a quiet spot in and read a book?

I was just in London, but I didn't get a chance to just sit in one of their many parks and read. I would have loved that!

10. What is the last book that made you laugh out loud?

Oh gosh, I don't know! Sigh...I'm not at remembering these things unless it was like the last book I read, and it was not. haha

11. If you had one question to ask me, what would it be?

hmm...Would you ever think about co-blogging with someone?

Nominations and Questions:

I nominate the following blogs (if they wish to take part):

Chiara from Books for a Delicate Eternity

Lisa from Lisa Loves Literature

Jaclyn from JC's Book Haven

Lola from Lola's Book Reviews

Karen from KissinBlueKaren

And now here are my 11 questions for these blogs to answer (or anyone - I'd love to get to know you better):

1. How do you feel about book series?

2. Do you remember the first book you ever read on your own?

3. Do you read classic books for fun?

4. How do you feel about translated novels?

5. Do you have any auto-buy authors?

6. Do you buy books as presents? And if you do, are they usually books you've read or not?

7. Do you read graphic novels?

8. What author(s) would you love to meet, dead or alive?

9. What book would you like to see made into a TV show or film?

10. If you could read more books set in a certain country or state, which one would it be and why?

11. Do you want to write a novel? Or are you happy to just read them?


Rules

  • Acknowledge the blog that nominated you, link it to your post and display the award.
  • Answer 11 questions that the blog gives you.
  • Nominate 5-11 blogs you think deserve the Liebster Award.
  • Give them 11 questions to answer.
  • Write the rules in your Liebster Award blog post.
  • Let the blogs know about your post and that you have nominated them.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Author Interview with Heather Rose Jones


I'd like to welcome author Heather Rose Jones to the blog for a quick interview! You can find her blog, the Lesbian Historic Motif archives, and information about all of her publications on her website here. You can also follow her on Twitter!

****

1. You have two books in a series out from Bella Books. Who would you recommend read these stories? What are your plans for the rest of the series?

The Alpennia series is for readers who enjoy complex historic fantasy...or fluffy regency romance. People who like a whole cast of strong female protagonists...or people who like their characters to engage in theological debates while fleeing a charge of treason. The books aren’t entirely classifiable. My most avid fans tend to be readers who enjoy classic fantasy adventures but who are hungry for female characters--especially when those female characters might be hungry for each other. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised at what a wide audience I’ve found. Bella Books tends to focus on the lesbian readership, but I’d estimate that half of my readers fall outside that demographic. A friend of mine taught Daughter of Mystery as part of her high school English curriculum and I had burly jocks tell me how much they loved the story.

Currently the main Alpennia series is planned to be about seven books or, as I often joke, “however long it takes to get to the revolution.” I also have planned a more or less stand-alone book set three centuries earlier than the main series, and there are a number of short stories I have planned to fill in some of the nooks and crannies. The third book in the series, Mother of Souls, has been turned in to the publisher and will be released in November 2016. I’m aiming for one book a year, which is tricky given that I have a demanding day-job that I love.

2. How did you come to write LGBT+ fiction?

They always say, “write what you want to read.” I’ve been writing off and on since high school, mostly fantasy (besides all my non-fiction writing), and more and more I started gravitating toward the types of stories I just wasn’t getting in other people’s books. The final straw was when I read a fantasy novel by a well-known author that felt like it was setting things up so finally the two brave, daring heroines would end up in each others’ arms...and then the plot dodged in the other direction at the last minute. And I said to myself, “If you want that story, you’re going to have to write it yourself!”

I’m not sure that I’d characterize what I write as “LGBT+” fiction, though. I focus very strongly on female characters whose primary romantic interests are with women, although a number of them are bi. And I have minor characters who are gay men, and there’s a trans man who’s a significant secondary character. But I can pretty much guarantee that all my protagonists are going to be female. So I wouldn’t want to lay claim to writing the whole spectrum. It bothers me when people use LGBT+ as an advertising buzzword but their actual focus is much narrower.

3. What are some other LGBT+ books or authors you would recommend?

I’m going to stick to fantasy authors, since that’s my primary pleasure-read genre. Some of the authors who have been feeding my soul lately include Beth Bernobich, Catherine Lundoff, Elizabeth Bear (especially the delightful Karen Memory), T. Kingfisher’s The Raven and the Reindeer, which is utterly delightful. Aliette de Bodard’s House of Shattered Wings and its’ associated short fiction includes some same-sex relationships that are enjoyable for simply being background.

4. Along with your writing, you also run the Lesbian Historic Motif Project. Could you explain this more? 

I’m an enthusiastic amateur academic. I only missed being a professional one by the timing of marketplace forces. (Instead I work in biotech.) It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t end up a university professor because my interests are all over the map, but most of them have something to do with history. When I first started thinking about writing historical fiction with lesbian characters, I plunged into trying to find all the historic research I could on the general topic. And what I discovered is that there’s a wealth of information out there, but most people don’t know it exists. And because they don’t know it exists, either they think there were no lesbians before the 20th century, or they write historic stories with modern lesbians stuck into the middle of some other century. I’m something of a cataloger by nature, so I conceived of the idea of putting together a sourcebook for people who wanted to write lesbian historical fiction. I first had that idea back in the ‘80s, but fortunately, I waited until the internet got a bit more ubiquitous before seriously setting to work, because it’s a project much more suited to a blog than a published book.

So what I’m doing is hunting down all that research, reading it, and posting summaries that give the highlights for those who want to dig deeper. A sort of annotated bibliography, if you will. The hardest thing about research is knowing that the information exists to be found. My goal is to do that part of the legwork. And in the process I’ve found inspiration for more historic novels than I could write in a lifetime! So far, I’ve blogged 125 separate publications, including both articles and books, but my database of publications to cover includes nearly 400 entries at this point, and I add to it faster than I can blog them. Because of my own interests, I tend to focus on Europe and the Mediterranean region, and to make my life simpler, I don’t cover the 20th century.

I honestly don’t know if any other writers have found the project useful. Most people writing lesbian historical fiction don’t look back any further than the Victorian era. But I have to have some excuse for buying all those books!

Monday, September 19, 2016

October LGBT+ Releases

I can't believe that September is almost over. I'm ready, though, as I'm excited for October. It's my favorite month of the year, plus it includes Halloween which is my favorite holiday! I thought I'd share a few LGBT+ books that are coming out in October so you can prepare to purchase these when they come out!

Any other LGBT+ titles I should know about?


Look Past by Eric Devine

Book Out: October 4th

Goodreads linkSomeone brutally murdered Mary Mathison, daughter of a prominent and very conservative local pastor. Whoever it was is now taunting Avery, a transgender boy, with disturbing messages, claiming that Mary’s murder was revenge for her relationship with Avery. The killer’s demands are simple and horrific: Avery must repent for changing his gender identity, or he will be the next one killed.

Can Avery deny who he is to catch Mary’s killer? Or will sacrificing himself be the ultimate betrayal?


Turn the World Upside Down by Nyrae Dawn

Book Out: October 20th

Goodreads link: Hunter Donovan’s temper never used to be a problem. He lived the perfect life with the perfect family before the dark truth came spilling out. Now his dad’s in prison, and after Hunter explodes at school, accidentally hitting a teacher, his mom has him committed. 

Hunter doesn’t belong at Better Days. He needs to be stronger, not sent to a well-dressed loony bin. If he’d been better, less selfish, he would have realized something was going on under his own roof. No amount of psychoanalyzing and group therapy can change the past.

But among the bullies, fights, and bad cafeteria food, Hunter meets a group of friends: anxiety-ridden Casey, wild and exciting Rosie, recovering bulimic Bethany, and Stray, a self-harmer who doesn’t think he belongs anywhere. Around this group of misfits, Hunter doesn’t feel so alone and angry anymore.

Still, as he’s making friends and falling in love with Stray, the guilt is always there. If Hunter can’t open up and find a way to deal with what happened, he might fall victim to his mental illness—and he won’t be the only casualty.



All Hallows' Eve by Annabelle Jacobs

Book Out: October 7th

Goodreads linkDominic Ashworth is descended from a long line of witches, although the family practice of witchcraft died out generations ago. Forever connected to a dark history, the house he grew up in remained in the Ashworth family for generations until his estranged father sold it. 

On a mission to check out the new owners, Dominic runs into Caleb Jones and gives the gorgeous man his phone number—but getting a date should be the last thing on Dominic’s agenda.

Caleb and his best friend, Zach Briceworth, are oblivious to the heartache and magic tied to the foundations of their new home. When strange things start to happen, the truth emerges and surprises them both, especially as everything revolves around Caleb’s new love interest.

After a shaky start, Caleb and Dominic settle into an easy relationship, falling faster than either of them expected. But with Halloween approaching, the possibility of danger increases. The past is not always as it seems, and the ripples of a tragic event threaten to put an end to everything between them.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Say It Right by A.M. Arthur


Say It Right by A.M. Arthur

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryAfter his parents kicked him out for being gay, Marc Villegas lived on the streets before getting a second chance. Now he's giving back by working at a shelter for LGBT teenagers—because helping fight their demons keeps his own at bay. Including his infatuation with the former best friend he's sure is straight.

Anthony Romano hasn't seen Marc since Marc left home eight years ago. In his confidant's absence, Anthony turned to heroin. Now at rock bottom, he has an offer from Marc to help him get clean. Detox is hard and ugly, but not as hard as admitting the truth: he's in love with Marc. Always has been.

Marc swore he'd never date an addict, but he never dreamed the one in question would be the man he's always wanted to be with. As the two explore their feelings for each other, Marc faces a difficult choice. Say yes, and it could cost him his sobriety; say no, and it could cost him his heart.


ReviewSay It Right is the second book in the All Saints series, but they are companion novels focusing on a different couple in each one. I do recommend reading Come What May first though, so you get all of the background information needed to fully understand Say It Right. 

I liked Come What May, despite it not being my most favorite. However, I was excited to read Say It Right and I'm so happy that I did because it was even better, in my opinion, than the first book. Say It Right focuses on Marc, who helps run an LGBT Homeless Shelter for Teens, and his childhood friend, Anthony. Marc was kicked out of his home when he was a teenager because he told his parents he was gay. Since that moment, he has not seen or heard from Anthony. When the two are reunited as adults, things have definitely changed in some ways. Marc is still attracted to Anthony, but Anthony has been on drugs off and on for years, not able to stay clean for long.

I don't want to go into too much detail about Marc and Anthony's pasts and experiences, because that makes up a large part of the book. I won't say it's important for these things to be a secret, as suspected a lot of what was to come, but it's still nice to read it instead of me just telling you. Anyway, I really loved both Marc and Anthony. The two of them had been through some rough things in the past, but they were friends who wanted to reconnect...and maybe even become more than friends.

I appreciated the realistic nature of this book. Anthony wants to be clean, but it's not easy. They want to be together, but Marc doesn't know if he can trust Anthony. There is a lot more to deal with than in a normal, everyday relationship and I think that Arthur handled all of this well. When the two made strides forward, it felt real, especially because there were steps backwards too. 

As for more All Saints books, I'd love to have them! I'm not sure if there will be a third or not, but it would be most welcome from me. I also wouldn't say no to more Marc and Anthony!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Talented Mr. Rivers by HelenKay Dimon


The Talented Mr. Rivers by HelenKay Dimon

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official SummaryAs the son of an international crime lord, Will Rivers only inherited one thing after his father died: trouble. The Pentasus organization deals in kidnapping and murder, and Will wants no part of the power grab that’s tearing leadership apart. But the only way he’ll be able to escape is with some help from his former bodyguard, Hunter Cain, whose sculpted body and brooding looks keep Will awake at night. Somehow, Hunter has resisted the tension between them . . . until, suddenly, he gives in.

As a German intelligence officer working deep undercover, Hunter has a very good reason to keep Will in the dark about his identity and his intentions. Although the sex is hot, Hunter’s true feelings are a growing liability. Now the only way to save Will from his old life is to push him deeper into danger. But when two strong men are each determined to protect the other, the heat isn’t just combustible—it’s a firestorm.


Review:

The Talented Mr. Rivers is the second book after Mr. and Mr. Smith, which I loved. I was very excited to be accepted to review Mr. Rivers after highly enjoying the story and relationship in Smith. While this book focuses on a new couple, you still get to see the two men behind Smith, which is always fun in companion novels.

As for Mr. Rivers, this book is about Hunter and Will Rivers, who both appear in Smith, though Hunter far more. This book, though, takes place soon after the end of Smith so you definitely should read both to really get to know all the key players and how that leads to the story line in Mr. Rivers. Hunter is part of a German organization who has infiltrated the Rivers family, believing them to be involved in really evil and bloody work. While pretending to a bodyguard, he eventually meets the youngest Rivers sibling, Will, and finds himself immediately attracted.

Neither Will nor Hunter act on their feelings until Mr. Rivers and it's definitely steamy. There is plenty of sex scenes and sensual moments between the two men, but there is also much more to the story, which I appreciate. Two people are after Will, and neither care too much if they have to kill him in the end. Hunter is trying to bring down the operation the Rivers family runs, but he's also still immensely attracted to and starting to care for Will, so he wants to keep him safe. The two men have many secrets between them, though Hunter has the most, as he knows more about Will from his job than Will knows about him. For example, Hunter is not his real name. That's a small thing compared to everything else, but it's something the two have to work through, especially in the middle of a serious operation.

Again, I don't want to go on too much about the specific details. Just know that this is a sexy, fast-paced, and action-filled novel! Highly recommended!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Back from London + Goodreads Giveaways

Hello everyone! I'm back from London. I was able to visit some of you a couple times last week. I hope to get back into my regular schedule soon. London was a lot of fun though and I'm sure I'll have many posts about the various things that I did and saw, though it might be on my other blog. We'll see!

Anyway, I wanted to link you up to all of the posts from last week in case you missed them. I'd love for you to check them out, whether you comment or not!

How to Rock a Two-Bride Wedding (Featuring Evian Facial Spray)- post

Connection Error by Annabeth Albert - post

Top Ten Tuesday with Author Annabeth Albert - post

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova - post


Second, I want to share some LGBT+ books that are up for giveaway on Goodreads. Best of luck to you all!

1. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst - Ends Oct 5 (U.S. Only)

2. Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity by Kristin Elizabeth Clark - Ends Sep 16 (U.S. Only)

3. Beast by Brie Spangler - Ends Sept 16 (U.S. Only)