mllelaurel: (Default)
[personal profile] mllelaurel
In a steampunk alternate universe, Jessaline, an agent for a free Haiti, arrives in New Orleans in order to secure a scientist to help Haiti with the development of rum effluent as an alternate energy source. While her original query turns her down, his just-as-smart-if-not-smarter sister, Eugenie, may be just what Jessaline needs. In more ways than one. But first, they have to dodge a group of white supremacists trying to sabotage Jessaline's mission.

Jemisin's writing is excellent as always, and I liked Jessaline a lot. The plot was as developed as it needed to be for a short story, and Jemisin's clear knowledge of history and eye for detail added an extra edge of depth and verisimilitude. The villains were what they were. You can't make white supremacists particularly nuanced, even in real life.

I enjoyed the romance for most of the story. The two women had a spark and ability to talk to one another. There was no pretense of instalove. They had just met and didn't aspire to anything but a 'maybe.' And then, there was a note at the very end which significantly soured it for me.

Cut for spoilers )
auroracloud: a woman wearing a short dress and sitting on a sofa, reading with her face hidden behind the book, next to bookshelf (reading: on the sofa)
[personal profile] auroracloud
Something of a review in my journal. This short, intricate, beautiful fantasy novel tells the story of a woman who has to go to live in the palace of a female dragon (one with both human-like and more dragon-like forms), in exchange for the dragon healing someone in her village, and she finds herself falling in love with the dragon. It's inspired by the Beauty and the Beast and by Asian culture and mythology (I believe specifically Vietnamese), but weaves its own tale of love, otherness, outcasts, families, and learning to see beyond appearances and to choose your actions rather than letting others define who you are. Heartily recommended for those who read the description and think they might like it.
el_staplador: (Default)
[personal profile] el_staplador
Published in 1989, this is a very early Val McDermid - her second, in fact. Reporter Lindsay Gordon is covering news of an assault case at the Brownlow Common peace camp (a thinly disguised Greenham Common) - which is overtaken when the victim of the assault becomes a victim of murder.

This was a diverting murder mystery which veered off into sensationalist spy thriller territory towards the end (I wasn't complaining; I like spy thrillers!) but it was just as absorbing as a reflection of the world of journalism and the politics and preoccupations of the 1980s.

McDermid's observation of the crossover between different groups, and the fault lines within groups, is very sharp, and the way she portrays the uncomfortable sense that one isn't doing enough for the cause of the moment feels just as relevant today. Lindsay, on the edge of two worlds as a self-described hack in a relationship with the highbrow writer Cordelia as much as in her compromised dealings with press, police, and protesters, makes a convincing character. I loved the depiction of lesbian subculture (one character runs a restaurant called 'Rubyfruits') and the casual assumption that the reader will find their way around it (recognising the jargon puts them ahead of at least one plot development).

While I'm here, honourable mention to The Birthday Party (Veronica Henry), which was a novel with several plot strands following the personal meltdowns of a family of celebrities. One of the daughters finds herself in what looks like it's going to be a 'lesbian for attention' relationship, but which ends up becoming something more sincere.

Every now and then I have a whinge about how heteronormative mainstream novels are, so it was nice to see a F/F relationship included in one. There were a few moments that made me wince a little, but generally speaking I was pleasantly impressed by the nuance with which this was treated.
cyphomandra: Endo Kanna from Urasawa's 20th century boys reading a volume of manga (manga)
[personal profile] cyphomandra
A sweet short middle-grade graphic novel about two princesses - slightly more review at my dw.
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Chicken Run: A Letty Campbell Mystery, by Alma Fritchley. A charming romantic comedy about a lesbian chicken farmer in Yorkshire with lots of realistic detail about the '90s Manchester lesbian scene, plus a sudden and WTF plot swerve in the last 9 pages when the author apparently remembered that she'd sold the book as a mystery.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
From [personal profile] erinptah over on the [community profile] halfamoon community, which I thought might be of interest to members of this community too:

Five Webcomics About Magical Lesbians

Five Webcomics About Soft Pastel Lesbians
el_staplador: (Default)
[personal profile] el_staplador
This one was sold to me as 'bi teen girl gets pregnant when she and her girlfriend split up, but only has her ex-girlfriend to turn to when she gets thrown out of her home'. Which immediately appealed to me in a nostalgic, school library, kind of a way. (If only Section 28 hadn't been in force at the time. There were plenty of books about teen pregnancy in the school library, but none of them involved anybody being anything other than straight.)

And that was a pretty good summary. The problem was, there wasn't much more to the book than that. Lexi is pregnant. Emily tells her that it's going to ruin her life. Lexi's mother throws her out. Emily takes her in. A deus ex machina in the form of the principled Christian father of a friend solves the money problem. There was very little in terms of character development, and such as there was felt forced. (For example, I really wasn't convinced by the eventual resolution of the relationship storyline, and wasn't reassured that any of the problems that had led to the initial break-up had been solved.)

There was a lot of infodumping about abortion options, and, later, what Lexi could expect in terms of physical symptoms of pregnancy, which was all very laudable, but rather reminded me of the way that The Archers began as a way to distribute news of agricultural developments to farmers. And the prose was very clumsy. Too much showing, not telling, about action, and too much telling, not showing, about emotions and relationships. Although this may just be a YA thing: this is the second one in a row where I've really not been convinced by any of the characters and have found the prose dull. I can't help feeling that our young adults deserve better...
isabellerecs: Scarlet Witch in profile (scarlet witch crown)
[personal profile] isabellerecs
Title: A Sure Thing
Author: thingswithwings
Canon: Guardians of the Galaxy/MCU
Pairing: Gamora/Nebula
Rating: Teen [PG]
Word Count: 2,145
Summary: Nebula leaves gifts for Gamora to find.

Recommendation: This is a delightful bit of messed up-ness. The "gifts" are sick, but somehow they still manage to be meaningful.
oursin: Lady Strachan and Lady Warwick kissing in the park (Regency lesbians)
[personal profile] oursin
Recommendation of this fantasy sequence posted here.
ursula: Sheep knitting, from the Alice books (sheep)
[personal profile] ursula
[personal profile] hrj has a call for submissions for fiction submissions to the Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast. This is for short fiction set before 1900, and pays professional rates ($0.06/word).
isabellerecs: Scarlet Witch in profile (scarlet witch crown)
[personal profile] isabellerecs
Title: Landslide
Author: dontstraytoofar
Canon: Spider-Man/MCU
Pairing: Michelle Jones/Elizabeth 'Liz' Toomes
Rating: General [G]
Word Count: 2,155
Summary: “You know, I could dance with you” It makes Liz look up, confused slightly as Michelle just smiles back. She shrugs once, standing up and holding her hand out to Liz who is still eyebrows furrowed, biting her lip. “I’m a way better dancer than Parker anyways” Or the one where it hurts to be left alone, and Michelle likes Liz's smile.

Recommendation: I'm going to start with how I think it's great that the cast of Homecoming look the closest to actual teenagers of any of the Spider-Man movies to date. And cute. 'Cause that girl didn't deserve to be left all alone. Michelle helps turn the night around.
sea_changed: (the favourite; sarah)
[personal profile] sea_changed
I finally had a chance to see The Favourite, the wonderfully off-beat Queen Anne movie featuring her lesbian affairs. I loved it; my review, with only the mildest of spoilers, is here.
isabellerecs: Scarlet Witch in profile (scarlet witch crown)
[personal profile] isabellerecs
Title: Helping Hands
Author: Ellabee15
Canon: Luke Cage/MCU
Pairing: Mercedes 'Misty' Knight/Claire Temple
Rating: Mature [R]
Word Count: 2,051
Summary: Misty wasn't used to being helpless.

Recommendation: I firmly believe that there needs to be more WoC pairings, there just does. Especially when they are as badass as these two ladies. Would we be able to call this pairing Knight Nurse? Just saying.
isis: (yuletide)
[personal profile] isis
Earlier this month I posted a rec for two novels with canon f/f, Kristin Cashore's Jane, Unlimited and Robert Jackson Bennett's Foundryside. This year's Yuletide collection opened on Tuesday, and there is one fic - a long and delightful gift for me! - in Jane, Unlimited, as well as seven Foundryside fics between the main collection and Yuletide Madness, all but one of which is f/f.

Ivy, Unlimited is a long (almost 14k), well-written pastiche that incorporates my prompts and likes beautifully. This story, like the original novel, has multiple possibilities, each in a different genre, that use the original possible endings as springboards - but these are from Ivy's POV rather than Jane's, and so it's all inventive and multi-layered and astonishingly complex. You do need to have read the original novel for this to make sense.

Foundryside fic in main collection

Foundryside fic in Madness

Of the Foundryside fic, I most liked Adjustment, which is an 8k found-family post book-1 ensemble fic with sweet Sancia/Berenice (main collection) and Unedited, which is a short gen scene in which Sancia, Berenice, and Orso are in a bit of a bind (madness).
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston

This is an alternate-history take on a regency romance, set in an alternate Canada (both Toronto and lake country Up North) where the British Empire is still a going concern but kinder and gentler. Oh, and people (usually) choose who to marry partly based on a supercomputer that scans their genetic information.

Margaret is the Crown Princess of the British Empire; she has to find someone who's a good genetic match for her to marry, but before that, she's in Canada anonymously, enjoying a summer of freedom. Helena Marcus is making her debut, but pretty sure that afterwards she's going to marry her childhood sweetheart August Callaghan, heir to his father's shipping empire. They hit it off marvelously, and pretty soon Margaret's coming Up North with Helena and August for the summer, where sparks fly between Margaret and Helena.

Some things that stood out for me about this book:

(1) You know how a while ago there were a glut of dystopian romances where the supercomputer chooses your Perfect Match, and they completely failed to account for the fact that queer people exist? I'm not sure that I completely buy how influential the Computer is - I get why it's important for Margaret to choose a good genetic match, but everybody else? - but it feels like Johnston read all those books and said "Hey, do you not GET all the possibilities you're missing?" And not in the obvious way of "queer person oppressed by the all-powerful supercomputer" but (attempting to avoid spoilers here) "supercomputer actually helps open up previously undiscovered possibilities" - one of the main characters has a genetic issue that isn't what she was expecting.

(2) It's adorably tropey while handling every one of its tropes in an unexpected way. Love triangles? Well, yes, but kinder gentler love triangles with a minimum of jealousy and people behaving badly. People falling in love under disguised identities! Multiple layers of assumed identities! "Oh no we have to share a bed!" Love and duty!

(3) The love scenes are fairly chaste and fade-to-black but they also manage to be hot.

(4) I love how seriously Johnston takes duty and responsibility, in this and her other books. It's not "the System is bad, let's take the system down," but "let's figure out how we can work within the System and still get what we want."

(5) It takes affirmative consent seriously without being preachy or heavy-handed.

It's an incredibly sweet and surprising book. And very Canadian, which gets a bonus point from me.
mrs_leary: (green silk dress)
[personal profile] mrs_leary
I really enjoyed reading Breaking Character, a recently released novel by Lee Winter.

My review: A terrific romance that ticks all the boxes. I really enjoyed this tale of how two women, with much in common but also such different characters, found their way towards each other. In many ways the main trope is "opposites attract", but it's also more than that. The world behind the scenes of the entertainment industry felt realistic, which made it particularly irritating how each woman felt such pressure to remain deep in the closet, even in relation to each other. It shouldn't work like that, but I'm all too afraid that it does. On a brighter note, the wide range of secondary characters were a joy to read about.

It's available from Ylva Publishing.
isabellerecs: Scarlet Witch in profile (scarlet witch crown)
[personal profile] isabellerecs
Title: Third Floor
Author: thingswithwings
Canon: Ghostbusters 2016
Pairing: Jillian Holtzmann/Patty Tolan
Rating: Teen [PG]
Word Count: 2,241
Summary: Patty. Is on the third floor. All of the time.
Recommendation: Holtzy's not great at communication but Patty knows how to walk her through the basics and still gets to be surprised by what comes out of that girl's mouth.


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