Friday, September 29, 2017

Freebie Fetish Friday - Putting the TG in TGIF!

Well, if it's Friday, then it must be time to bend our way into the weekend with Freebie Fetish Friday.

Every Friday I search through the weekend's free titles on Amazon, looking for those that might be of interest to readers, fans, and lovers of bending gender and sexuality. Even if you don't have a Kindle, you can still download the titles through one of Amazon's free reading applications, and covert it (if need be) with Calibre. I can tell you I do most of my reading on my tablet, using Kindle for PC, and it works beautifully.

Please do be sure to check the price before downloading anything, though, as most freebies are limited time offers, and some are specific to certain regions.



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

New and Notable - Trans* Reads

On the last Wednesday of every month we take a few moments to look ahead and admire some of the books coming to shelves. There is nothing quite like the joy of anticipation that comes from pre-ordering a book that speaks to your heart, and then having it arrive in your hot little hands. It is like a present to yourself, and there is just something a little more special about a book you have waited for.

So, without further ado, here are the New and Notable releases coming to shelves in October.

Refuse by Jennifer N Roush
Expected Publication Date: October 1st, 2017

Psyche: it used to mean the seat of intellect, but now refers only to a tiny asteroid housing the solar system's human garbage.

When Antoinette Foucault's dream of motherhood circles the drain, an emotional outburst is expected, but not a revolution. Her official "Deviation" permits her to express otherwise-illegal discontent, but no one could predict it would be her key to an organization of misfits with designs on overthrowing the government.

Can she save the innocent before warring revolutions destroy them all? Only if she can do more, be more, than REFUSE.

In this irreverent, sarcastic novel, the heroine Antoinette conspires with freaks against an alien-run government bent on making all humans healthy by suppressing the expression of negative emotions. But Antoinette is an average person, with bad feelings and snarky comments and a predilection for toilet or bedroom humor.

When the fate of the solar system is in her hands, she's on the jump, willing ot make love to as many lesbian alien octopuses as she must. With the help of her transgender doctor and her counsellor husband, she'll either take down the Colony or kill everyone trying. But will it be enough? Will it be on time?

Only if she can figure out exactly what she's rebelling against and be better than the human garbage her government takes her for, better than the average woman her society believes her to be, better than the hero revolutionaries expect.
I love the concept here. This sounds like such a fun read, with a wonderfully snarky protagonist, lesbian alien octopuses, and transgender doctors. Wow. - Sally

Seven Suspects by Renee James
Expected Publication Date: October 3rd, 2017

"You've most likely never met a narrator like Bobbi. Tough, tender, funny, full of heart―and a transgender woman." ―Jodi Picoult

Bobbi Logan is a successful businesswoman and a celebrated hairdresser. She is a witty, articulate woman who has survived rape, gender transition, a murder investigation, and countless acts of bullying and bigotry to get where she is—and she's made enemies along the way. Now one of them is stalking her. With each passing day, the threats become more brazen, more violent, and more personal. No one knows who here stalker is or why he's after her, but he's getting closer every day.

Bobbi is intimidated but she has vowed to never be the victim again. She accumulates a list of six suspects, and with courage and persistence, she hunts them down, one by one—stalking her possible stalkers. But as she confronts those men who may want to do her harm, the number seven keeps haunting her—there must be a seventh suspect.

And when she finds him, Bobbi’s world implodes.
Now that the second book in the The Bobbi Logan Series is out, I really need to get on with reading A Kind of Justice. - Sally

Castle Danger - The Mental States by Anthony Neil Smith
Expected Publication Date: October 10th, 2017

American crime - Nordic style!

"Hey, it's me again, Manny. Are you surprised? It's the dress, right? You'll get used to it. So, when we last met, I'd been fired, assaulted, chased by cops and criminals alike, and coerced into a political conspiracy.

This time, I'm working for the next governor of the state of Minnesota. Alongside Joel. Sort of. He's still adjusting to the new me. But corruption spreads like fire and somebody has to douse the flames ... Here's the thing. They say that knowledge is power. But nobody tells you that what you know can be the death of you."

The CASTLE DANGER saga continues in THE MENTAL STATES as Manny and Joel work together doing what they do best: getting into deep trouble.

State Senator Andrew Marquette looks like a shoo-in for the governorship - appealing to votes across the political spectrum - and he's brought Manny and Joel aboard to help steer the ship. But when one of Marquette's most trusted advisors goes missing, our heroes can't help but play detective once again, in spite of everyone around them trying to block their path. Is there more to this disappearance than meets the eye? It will take a harrowing journey around Minnesota's backwoods, the back alleys of the Twin Cities, and the mysterious "dark web" online, where some sick individuals pay a fortune to see their most depraved wishes come true.
I am just discovering The Duluth Files, two books in, but I am instantly intrigued and very excited. - Sally

The Stark Divide by J. Scott Coatsworth
Expected Publication Date: October 10th, 2017

Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.
I have gotten to know Scott a little bit through the Queer Sci Fi group, so I am naturally excited about this . . . and it does not hurt that an early reviewer talked about how refreshing it is to have a character that just happens to be trans. - Sally

Fishy Queen by Malachite Splinters
Expected Publication Date: October 30th, 2017

Machyl Mostroso Lyons is the fishiest queen in New York City.

This has to be the year Machyl's annual audition for the Vivesse drag beauty pageant is finally successful. He's got the look, and as a voguing champion, he's got talent, too. And anyway, he's been a Vivesse superfan since the age of ten.

But now Machyl's drag mother is making him train zero-talent baby drag Anthony Alcantara.

Machyl knows there's no point in trying to train Anthony, who's nothing more than an absurdly pretty face. Machyl has other things to worry about, like the fact that his ex-military boyfriend Angel has just left him for a former brother-in-arms.

Machyl knows that sweet, beautiful Anthony will never amount to anything in the world of drag. It's impossible that Anthony could ever be competition for Machyl, let alone stand a chance at getting into the Vivesse pageant.

At least, that's what Machyl keeps telling himself...
I still need to read the first Drag Queen Beauty Pageant book, which came out in August, but this sounds like such a fun series. - Sally

Mick & Michelle by Nina Rossing
Expected Publication Date: October 31st, 2017

Fifteen-year-old Mick Mullins has a great life: his parents are sweet, his sister is tolerable, and his friendships are solid. But as summer descends on Queens, he prepares to turn his carefree existence upside down by disclosing a secret he has kept long enough. It’s time to work up the courage to reveal that he is not a boy, but a girl—and that her name is Michelle. Having always been the perfect, good boy, Michelle is terrified that the complicated truth will disappoint, hurt, or push away the people closest to her. She can’t continue hiding for much longer, though, because her body is turning into that of a man’s, and she is desperate to stop the development—desperate enough to consider self-medicating with hormones.

Most of all, Michelle fears that Grandpa, who is in a nursing home after a near fatal stroke, won’t survive the shock if he finds out that his favorite grandchild, and the only boy, is a girl. If she kills her beloved Grandpa by leaving Mick behind, she isn’t sure embracing her real identity will be worth the loss.
Every time I see a new YA novel come out with a transgender protagonist, it makes my heart soar. I only wish there had been stories like this when I was young. - Sally

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Texas Hold 'Em by Sara James (#transformation #genderswap)

For a story with such a simple concept, Texas Hold 'Em is surprisingly deep and well-detailed. Where so many other authors would settle for a one-handed quick read with a clich├ęd payoff, Sara James refuses to take the easy way out. She gets deep into her characters heads and builds a multi-faceted drama around them, making the reader genuinely care about them and the consequences of their evening poker game.

Ken is one of my favorite characters in a very long time, a man tricked into femininity, transformed into a perfect cheerleader with a sexy Southern drawl. As Kendra, she knows who exactly she is and who she was. There is a clear distinction between her male and female identities, and she retains the presence of mind to make decisions for herself. The way she develops, growing into her new role and identity, is exceptional.

Of course, Kendra is not the only character here. She is surrounded by five of Ken's friends, poker buddies who are struggling to deal with a surprising act of magic when all they expected was a little crossdressing humiliation. You keep expecting them to turn on her, to take advantage of the situation, but that is not the story Sara James is telling her. She explores their moral and emotional quandaries, dealing with the awkwardness of this buxom cheerleader who used to be their friend. It is a story that alternates between awkward and humorous, and which does eventually approach a level of comfort where the reality of Kendra is taken advantage.

Until, that is, the night comes to an end and there are consequences to be dealt with. There is a major cliffhanger at the end of chapter eleven, where the story could go in multiple directions, but Sara James does the unexpected and tells a whole second story after that twist. Those final chapters are entirely different in tone, and I would argue they are the best part of the story, were it not for the fact that the first story is so strong on its own.

While I have enjoyed the stories of Sara James before, Texas Hold 'Em is on a whole other level. It is seriously that good.

Sara James (1968 - present) was born in the rural hills and valleys of New York state's Leatherstocking region, where she grew to maturity before leaving home to join the Navy. After four years of service that took her to Chicago, Boston, Memphis and San Diego, she returned home to pursue a dual degree in physics and mathematics with a minor in computer science. At the suggestion of an English professor who encouraged her to pursue writing as a career, she began to hone her craft by writing stories in private. Publishing her first work in the year 2000 with Reluctant Press, she has continued to write and publish while maintaining a full time career and family. Her hope is to make her professor's suggestion a reality and become a full time author.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Nails by MP Johnson (#trans #memoir)

Nails is not a happy book. It is not exactly what you would call a feel-good story. It is a sad and anxious read, a story that is full of sorrow, doubt, and pain. More importantly, it is a powerful read, one that I could not put down, even after I finished it.

Such brutal honesty does not come easy, but MP Johnson makes it seem effortless. Like a breathless confession, her story echoes across the page with the sound of acrylic nails tapping out every emotion.
I hate going out in drag when the sun is still shining, but the nail salon is only open until seven, and I need acrylic nails. Need. Need. Need.
Part fetish, part anchor, and part accessory, Nails serve as our entry into Emma's word. It is their memory from which her femininity begins, and their reality from which it continues to blossom. Here we have a woman who flies across the country and stays in a seedy motel, just so she can visit a particular salon to get her nails done - not to impress anybody, but so she can feel like herself. They are her foundation, and their extravagance is a fitting match for the strength of her personality.
I want dramatic. I want over-the-top. I want fucking nails, not nubs.
There is so much I want to say about this, so many scenes and sentiments that were hauntingly familiar, but I do not want to steal Emma's story out from under her. It is not that she has dark thoughts that matters, it how she frames them, how she shares them, and how she navigates them. Similarly, it is not the brevity of her happy moments that matters most, but the fact that she continues seeking them out, acknowledging the darkness, but never allowing it to win.
I look at her, surprised. I want to tell her what I had to do to get these nails, everything I’ve gone through for these fucking nails, and then ask her why she can’t. Instead, I smile and accept the compliment with a “thank you.”
Nails is not a story of coming out, but a prequel to that life-changing act. This is the story of Emma exploring herself, understanding herself, and beginning to accept herself . . . so that she can invite the world to do the same. The final act, with Emma's catharsis at the hands of Mistress Jillian may shock some readers, but the story's final six words bring it all home.

MP Johnson recognizes that long nails are basically the most unreasonable, unwieldy style choice a woman can make, but she rocks them anyway. So what if she can’t use ATMs? She can still write. She is the Wonderland Book Awardwinning author of Dungeons & Drag Queens and several other books. Her short fiction has appeared in Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, Dark Discoveries and many other publications. She has created a variety of zines, including Trans Mess and the long running Freak Tension. She is the founder of Weirdpunk Books, a press devoted to merging punk rock and genre fiction.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Freebie Fetish Friday - Putting the TG in TGIF!

Well, if it's Friday, then it must be time to bend our way into the weekend with Freebie Fetish Friday.

Every Friday I search through the weekend's free titles on Amazon, looking for those that might be of interest to readers, fans, and lovers of bending gender and sexuality. Even if you don't have a Kindle, you can still download the titles through one of Amazon's free reading applications, and covert it (if need be) with Calibre. I can tell you I do most of my reading on my tablet, using Kindle for PC, and it works beautifully.

Please do be sure to check the price before downloading anything, though, as most freebies are limited time offers, and some are specific to certain regions.