TRANS BOOK MONTH: Caissa reflects on a book written by fellow trans partners

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Throughout the month of July, we at Just Love want to celebrate and highlight books by trans authors and about trans characters! We’ve had some amazing posts throughout the month, and hope you’ll check them out. Today, one of the Just Love team writes about a very personal trans book:

Caissa reflects on a book written by fellow trans partners

I remember it well: the day that a book changed my life.

I know, I know, everyone says that. But I mean it.

I had some time to kill after work one day last year, so I visited my favorite feminist bookstore to browse for a bit. Amidst all the rainbow items and erotica novels in the LGBTQ section, a book with a bright orange and yellow cover caught my eye.

“Love Always,” it read. “Partners of Trans People on Intimacy, Challenge, and Resilience.”

The bookstore may have gotten dusty.

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Book Review: Follow Me Into Darkness – Anthology

Please note this book was reviewed prior to the revelation of author known as Santino Hassell’s identity and actions. Please read this statement from Riptide Publishing for more information.

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When Lead Me Into Darkness came out last year, I was over the moon. Five absolutely incredible authors came together for a themed Halloween anthology, and it was fantastic!

So imagine my happy dance when Follow Me Into Darkness was announced. With a Mardi Gras/Carnivale theme (’tis the season, right?), and from new publisher Open Ink Press, I knew from the start that this was going to be another favorite!

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Follow Me Into Darkness
Authors: J.R. Gray, Santino Hassell, J.C. Lillis,
Roan Parrish, and Kris Ripper
Publisher: Open Ink Press (Feb. 4, 2016)
Genres: Various (See each story for details)

Buy Links: Amazon / Publisher

anthology-follow-me-darkness-coverCarnivale is a time for decadence, for revelry, and for mischief. A time when we shed the figurative masks we wear in everyday life in favor of new ones… ones that allow us to be a little bolder, a little more adventurous, and perhaps a little truer to ourselves.

Follow Me Into Darkness is a compilation of original tales of queer romance by five of the premier authors of contemporary romance.

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Military Short Stories, Week 3: “Live for the Day” by Sarah Masters & “Lifetime Hitch” by Megan Slayer

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This is Part Three of Three featuring military short stories, originally published in the Aim High anthology and now being published on their own. I’ll be posting two novella reviews each week. (You can find Part One here and Part  Two here.)

November is the month to celebrate Veterans, I want to highlight the service men and women around the world who put their lives on the line in the name of freedom. And even soldiers deserve love, right?

masters-live-for-the-dayLive for the Day, by Sarah Masters
Buy Link: Pride Publishing (Nov. 17, 2015)
Rating: ★★★★

Loving your best friend is easy. Telling him you do…well, that’s the hard part.

This story was gorgeous!

Michael is desperately missing his best friend, Steven, who is serving overseas with the Air Force. He’s been secretly harboring a crush on Steven for years, but has always assumed that Steven was straight. But when Steven comes home unexpectedly, injured and suffering from PTSD, he isn’t willing to hide his feelings for Michael any longer.

The friendship and romance here were handled extremely well, as were Michael’s emotions and Steven’s struggles to leave the war behind him. I really enjoyed this story!

slayer-lifetime-hitchLifetime Hitch, by Megan Slayer
Buy Link
: Pride Publishing (Nov. 17, 2015)
Rating: ★★★

Sometimes the best laid plans are meant to be thrown way off course.

Hunter has just gotten home from deployment with the Air National Guard, and is looking forward to seeing his best friend, Ryder, and his girlfriend and two daughters. But things don’t quite go as planned.

 

While I struggled a bit with some of the plot points, like Hunter’s girlfriend breaking up with him by letter when he returns from redeployment (it’s just cruel!), I think Hunter and Ryder’s friendship-turned-romance was really sweet!

 

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Military Short Stories, Week 2: “Venetian Skies” by Morticia Knight & “Search and Rescue” by Jenna Byrnes

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This is Part Two of Three featuring military short stories, originally published in the Aim High anthology and now being published on their own. I’ll be posting two novella reviews each week. (You can find Part One here.)

Today is Veterans Day where I live (and it will be in a few hours in the United States), and I want to highlight the service men and women around the world who put their lives on the line in the name of freedom. And even soldiers deserve love, right?

knight-venetian-skiesVenetian Skies, by Morticia Knight
Buy Link:
Pride Publishing (Nov. 10, 2015)
Rating: ★★★½

No one wants to lose a love that’s meant to be. Air Force test pilot, Chris Pierce, returns to Italy to discover that second chances are the sweetest.

Second changes at love are a trope that I love to read about, and I think the military base setting is a perfect one to show this, because military often get reassigned and sent all over the world. So when Chris returns to Italy, he thinks that he’s returning to bad memories after his ex-boyfriend said he wasn’t ready for a committed relationship. Instead, he finds that Brandon has been waiting for him, hoping that someday he’ll return.

This story was extremely sweet. Super, super adorable, with two men who really want to be together and are finally getting the chance to do so. I was a bit confused going in, and it took me a little while to figure out what was going on, but after that I was able to really enjoy the story. There is a LOT of sex though, for such a short story, and I feel like we were cheated a bit on emotions and backstory in favor of bedroom scenes.


byrnes-search-rescueSearch and Rescue, by Jenna Byrnes
Buy Link: Pride Publishing (Nov. 10, 2015)
Rating: ★★½

Two parajumpers freefall into a stealthy relationship before considering how quickly it might come crashing to an end.

This is another story about how relocation in the military can affect relationships. Matt is in training to become a parajumper, and his dream is to be assigned to the 58th unit. During training, he meets Drake, also with the 58th, and the attraction is instant. But when Matt’s assignment turns out to be on the other side of the country, some difficult decisions have to be made.

I like the story and the characters a lot, but I think Drake’s character was never really explained. He’s a jerk, and Matt is reluctant for about five seconds before falling into bed with him, but the fact that he’s a jerk is never resolved. I also wasn’t a fan of the sex scenes… the language was just not interesting or sexy to me. But that’s a personal opinion, not necessarily a reflection of the author’s writing ability.

Overall it was enjoyable, but not fantastic.

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Book Blitz: “How We Began” Anthology

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It’s release day for How We Began, an anthology with stories from six absolutely incredible authors! I’m so excited about this book, not only because of the theme– the beginning of new relationships and new phases in life– but also because it benefits an incredible cause.

You can read my review of each story here (spoiler: they’re all incredible. ALL OF THEM!), and keep reading for an excerpt from two of the stories (randomly chosen, because I literally wanted to include ALL of them!), as well as your chance to win a $25 gift certificate!

BeganHow We Began, an Anthology
Authors: Alexis Hall, Amy Jo Cousins, Annabeth Albert, Delphine Dryden, Geonn Cannon, and Vanessa North (ed. Edie Danford)
Publication date: November 9th 2015
Genres: LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance, Young Adult

How does love begin? A glance, a gesture, an unexpected offer of help from a stranger… or from a good friend. A smile across a counter at a coffee shop or video store. A secret revealed in a song from another place and time. Or in a love ballad crooned at a high school dance.

In this anthology of never-before-published sweet LGBTQ+ stories, six authors explore the beginnings of love between young and new adult couples. All proceeds will support The Trevor Project’s work with crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth.

Where to Buy the Book:
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

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