28.11.17

#SapphicAThon TBR + #Interview with JULIA EMBER, author of THE SEAFARER'S KISS!

Hey guys! I am so glad to be back in the blogging world and I will have a bit of free time at the end of December so I am going to participate in #SapphicAThon! It is a readathon where the feature is f/f relationships being the centre of the book. It runs from December 14th to December 28th so you can ask for some of these books for Christmas and have time to read them after! You can learn more by reading the original post which has recommendations for each of the challenge categories.

My plan is to try and fill up the whole card using a different book for each category, but we shall see how much progress I make. Below are the challenge categories and what I plan to read for each of them with buy links!

Also, as a special treat, there is an interview with Julia Ember who is the author of THE SEAFARER'S KISS, one of the books I'm reading for the readathon! Learn more about her books, writing process, and more in the interview below!




Bisexual MC

QUEENS OF GEEK

Author: Jen Wilde
Series: N/A
Source: eARC via Publisher
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: March 14, 2017

Summary:
Three friends, two love stories, one convention: this fun, feminist love letter to geek culture is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.

Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.


Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads, is an empowering novel for anyone who has ever felt that fandom is family.

Purchase:

SFF F/F

THE EDGE OF THE ABYSS

Author: Emily Skrutskie
Series: The Abyss Surrounds Us #2
Source: eARC via Publisher
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: April 18, 2017

Summary:
Three weeks have passed since Cassandra Leung pledged her allegiance to the ruthless pirate-queen Santa Elena and set free Bao, the sea monster Reckoner she’d been forced to train. The days as a pirate trainee are long and grueling, but it’s not the physical pain that Cas dreads most. It’s being forced to work with Swift, the pirate girl who broke her heart. 

But Cas has even bigger problems when she discovers that Bao is not the only monster swimming free. Other Reckoners illegally sold to pirates have escaped their captors and are taking the NeoPacific by storm, attacking ships at random and ruining the ocean ecosystem. As a Reckoner trainer, Cas might be the only one who can stop them. But how can she take up arms against creatures she used to care for and protect?


Will Cas embrace the murky morals that life as a pirate brings or perish in the dark waters of the NeoPacific?

Purchase:

Under 500 Ratings on GR

THE STORY OF LIZZY AND DARCY

Author: Grace Watson
Series: N/A
Source: Purchased from Kindle
Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: June 1, 2017

Summary:
When Lizzy Bennet first meets Darcy Williams, there is an instant dislike between them. As much as they try to avoid it their paths keep crossing, and they each start to see a different side to the other. Their tentative friendship is soon tested, but will they realise how they really feel?


The Story of Lizzy and Darcy is a modern day, same-sex adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Purchase:

Jewish MC

THE SECOND MANGO

Author: Shira Glassman
Series: Mangoverse #1
Source: Purchased from Kindle
Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: September 20, 2016

Summary:
Queen Shulamit never expected to inherit the throne of the tropical land of Perach so young. At twenty, grief-stricken and fatherless, she's also coping with being the only lesbian she knows after her sweetheart ran off for an unknown reason. Not to mention, she's the victim of severe digestive problems that everybody thinks she's faking. When she meets Rivka, an athletic and assertive warrior from the north who wears a mask and pretends to be a man, she finds the source of strength she needs so desperately. 


Unfortunately for her, Rivka is straight, but that's okay -- Shulamit needs a surrogate big sister just as much as she needs a girlfriend. Especially if the warrior's willing to take her around the kingdom on the back of her dragon in search of other women who might be open to same-sex romance. The real world outside the palace is full of adventure, however, and the search for a royal girlfriend quickly turns into a rescue mission when they discover a temple full of women turned to stone by an evil sorcerer. 

Purchase:

QWOC MC

HUNTRESS

Author: Malinda Lo
Series: N/A
Source: Purchased from Kobo
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 5, 2011

Summary:
Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn't shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people's survival hangs in the balance.

To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls' destinies are drawn together during the mission. As members of their party succumb to unearthly attacks and fairy tricks, the two come to rely on each other and even begin to fall in love. But the Kingdom needs only one huntress to save it, and what it takes could tear Kaede and Taisin apart forever.


The exciting adventure prequel to Malinda Lo's highly acclaimed novel Ash is overflowing with lush Chinese influences and details inspired by the I Ching, and is filled with action and romance.

Purchase:

ACE Spec MC

SECOND CHANCE

Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
Series: N/A
Source: Purchased from Kindle
Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: August 20, 2017

Summary:
Serena Nolan's summer isn't going how she planned. Fortunately, her cousin, Anna, is there to rescue her from spending her time off from college with parents who don't understand (or want to understand) her. Serena's thrilled to be living with Anna and her girlfriend, Lacey in Lacey's studio, and working in the Violet Hill Cafe. She's even adores Lacey's cat, Murder.

What she definitely didn't plan was running into her ex, Fiona Davis. They'd been best friends that had turned into something else, but everything had crashed and burned before the end of high school several years ago.


Serena is still smarting from the heartbreak, but she can't say no to spending some time with Fi. Against her better judgement, old feelings are mixing with new ones, and she doesn't know what to do. Serena will have to decide if past heartbreak is going to keep her from a potential future with Fiona.

Purchase:

Established Relationship

GHOST GIRL IN THE CORNER

Author: Daniel José Older
Series: Shadowshaper #1.5
Source: Purchased from Kindle
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: November 29, 2016

Summary:
H E L P

Trying to shake off the strange malaise that separates her from even her girlfriend Izzy, Tee decides to take over the Bed-Stuy Searchlight for the summer. But then she finds an alluring violet dress in the newspaper office, and a cute ghost girl no one else can see. Who is she? What does she want? And why is she revealing herself to Tee? 

H E R

Izzy can tell Tee's drifting away from her -- she misses Izzy's shows and skips shadowshaper practice to spend time alone at the newspaper -- and she won't stand for it. Yet when a girl goes missing in Bed-Stuy, Izzy needs Tee to get the word out and help investigate. Can they break through their distance and reconnect before someone else dies? 


Set between the New York Times-bestselling Shadowshaper and its upcoming sequel Shadowhouse Fall, this beautiful novella of mystery, love and loss will draw you deep into Daniel José Older's magical Brooklyn.

Purchase:

Friends to Lovers F/F

UNDER THE LIGHTS

Author: Dahlia Adler
Series: Daylight Falls #2
Source: Purchased from Chapters
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Publication Date: June 30, 2015

Summary:
Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents' wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls ... opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he's trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he's in the spotlight—on everyone's terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.


Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents' disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she's painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van's life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she'll have to choose between the one thing she's always loved ... and the person she never imagined she could.

Purchase:

Trans MC

CINDER ELLA

Author: S.T. Lynn
Series: N/A
Source: Purchased from Kindle
Publisher: LoveLight Press
Publication Date: June 24, 2016

Summary:
Ella is transgender. She's known since she was young; being a woman just fit better. She was happier in skirts than trousers, but that was before her stepmother moved in. Eleanor can't stand her, and after Ella's father passes she's forced to revert to Cole, a lump of a son. She cooks, she cleans, and she tolerates being called the wrong name for the sake of a roof over her head. Where else can she go? 

An opportunity to attend the royal ball transforms Ella's life. For the first time, strangers see a woman when she walks down the stairs. While Princess Lizabetta invited Cole to the ball, she doesn't blink an eye when Cinderella is the one who shows. The princess is elegant, bold, and everything Ella never knew she wanted. For a moment she glimpses a world that can accept her, and she holds on tight. 


She should have known it wouldn't last. Dumped by her wicked stepmother on the farthest edge of the kingdom, Ella must find a way to let go of the princess and the beautiful life they shared for an hour. She'll never find her way back. But it's hard to forget the greatest night of her life when every rose she plants is a reminder.

Purchase:

Non-Coming Out Story

SECOND KISS

Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
Series: Violet Hill #1
Source: Purchased from Kindle
Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: December 13, 2016

Summary:
Daisy Grace Webber's life hasn't exactly turned out how she thought. She didn't think she'd drop out of college and come back to the small town she grew up in. To be fair, she didn't think her love of baking would turn into a job at the Violet Hill Cafe either, but it did.

Something else she didn't expect was for Molly Madison to walk back into her life, eight years after she moved away. They'd been best friends forever, or so she'd thought. But Molly is back in town and she's looking... really good, actually. And that reminds Daisy of that one time at a sleepover when they'd kissed during a game of Spin the Bottle. That one kiss has been on her mind since then, but it's irrelevant. Molly isn't into girls.


But as Daisy and Molly spend more time together, feelings start to grow, and Daisy is wondering just how "straight" Molly really is...

Purchase:

Hate to Love F/F

STYLE

Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
Series: The OTP Series
Source: Purchased from Kindle
Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: May 31, 2016

Summary:
Kyle Blake likes plans. So far, they’re pretty simple: Finish her senior year of high school, head off to a good college, find a cute boyfriend, graduate, get a good job, get married, the whole heterosexual shebang. Nothing is going to stand in the way of that plan. Not even Stella Lewis. 

Stella Lewis also has a plan: Finish her senior year as cheer captain, go to college, finally let herself flirt with (and maybe even date) a girl for the first time and go from there. 

Fate has other plans for Kyle and Stella when they’re paired up in their AP English class and something between them ignites. It’s confusing and overwhelming and neither of them know what to do about it. One thing they do know is that their connection can’t be ignored. The timing just isn’t right. 


But is there ever a good time for falling in love? 

Purchase:

Both WOC

WINTERGLASS

Author: Benjanun Sriduangkaew
Series: N/A
Source: Preordered from Kindle
Publisher: Apex
Publication Date: December 5, 2017

Summary:
The city-state Sirapirat once knew only warmth and monsoon. When the Winter Queen conquered it, she remade the land in her image, turning Sirapirat into a country of snow and unending frost. But an empire is not her only goal. In secret, she seeks the fragments of a mirror whose power will grant her deepest desire.

At her right hand is General Lussadh, who bears a mirror shard in her heart, as loyal to winter as she is plagued by her past as a traitor to her country. Tasked with locating other glass-bearers, she finds one in Nuawa, an insurgent who’s forged herself into a weapon that will strike down the queen.

To earn her place in the queen’s army, Nuawa must enter a deadly tournament where the losers’ souls are given in service to winter. To free Sirapirat, she is prepared to make sacrifices: those she loves, herself, and the complicated bond slowly forming between her and Lussadh.


If the splinter of glass in Nuawa’s heart doesn’t destroy her first.

Purchase:

Disabled MC

FAR FROM YOU

Author: Tess Sharpe
Series: N/A
Source: Purchased from Chapters
Publisher: Orion
Publication Date: March 27, 2014

Summary:
Nine months. Two weeks. Six days.

That's how long recovering addict Sophie's been drug-free. Four months ago her best friend, Mina, died in what everyone believes was a drug deal gone wrong - a deal they think Sophie set up. Only Sophie knows the truth. She and Mina shared a secret, but there was no drug deal. Mina was deliberately murdered.


Forced into rehab for an addiction she'd already beaten, Sophie's finally out and on the trail of the killer—but can she track them down before they come for her?

Purchase:

F/F Retelling

THE SEAFARER'S KISS

Author: Julia Ember
Series: N/A
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Publisher: Interlude Press
Publication Date: May 4, 2017

Summary:
Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.


Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies. 

Purchase:

Interracial F/F Relationship

EVERYTHING LEADS TO YOU

Author: Nina LaCour
Series: N/A
Source: Purchased from Chapters
Publisher: Dutton Books
Publication Date: May 15, 2014

Summary:
A love letter to the craft and romance of film and fate in front of—and behind—the camera from the award-winning author of Hold Still.

A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.


Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.

Purchase:

MC Realizes They Are Queer

ANNIE ON MY MIND

Author: Nancy Garden
Series: N/A
Source: Purchased from Kindle
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Publication Date: 1982

Summary:
This groundbreaking book is the story of two teenage girls whose friendship blossoms into love and who, despite pressures from family and school that threaten their relationship, promise to be true to each other and their feelings. The book has been banned from many school libraries and publicly burned in Kansas City.


Of the author and the book, the Margaret A. Edwards Award committee said, “Using a fluid, readable style, Garden opens a window through which readers can find courage to be true to themselves.”

Purchase:

Describe THE SEAFARER’S KISS in 10 words or less.

Julia Ember: A queer, Viking-inspired Little Mermaid retelling. A Slytherin book. 

What is most important to you when writing f/f relationships?

Julia Ember: My books also tend to be on the upper side of YA, with older protagonists, and a steamier side. I think establishing chemistry and banter is really important to that! I really enjoy writing intimate scenes between women. 

I also like to write fiercely independent characters. I think it’s important in real relationships that two people be able to exist alone, rather than enter a co-dependent situation. In my books, I try to establish two people with very individual goals beyond love. That way, when they do come together, there is an inherent equality to their relationship. In Unicorn Tracks, Mnemba is a safari guide living away from home. She handles herself and looks after tourists in the savannah. Kara already has a research agenda and is ready to leave everything she knows behind. In The Seafarer’s Kiss, both of the main characters stress that freedom is the most important thing to them. That’s a sentiment I relate to. Ragna and Ersel have their own goals and agendas, and only fall in love after they realise that they don’t have to give up part of themselves to be together.  

What do you like about writing f/f relationships?

Julia Ember: I identify as bisexual, but make no secret that I’m generally much more attracted to women and non-binary people than cis men. My relationships with women have been more successful as well, as I tend to have an easier time communicating. My female relationships have been much more open, honest and emotionally intimate. They have been my best friends as well as my girlfriends. Cis men are often so socially conditioned not to express themselves that understanding how they feel can be really difficult. I find it easier, more authentic and a better writing experience to write what I know and feel. I want my characters to experience emotional as well as physical intimacy. 

Why are you participating in #SapphicAThon? What do you like about readathons in general?

Julia EmberI always say that I’m a reader first, and a writer second. I think reading is the only way to improve your craft, and if you don’t like to read, what motivates your writing? This year, I really haven’t read very much. In 2016, I read over 110 books. This year, I’ve read 48. That may still seem like a lot to some readers, but for me it’s a pretty low number.  This year has been kind of a monster. I’ve been feeling pretty pessimistic, both about the world and about my writing. I’ve also had a slew of health issues this year. It’s affected my desire to read and my productivity as a writer. 

I don’t think wlw books get nearly enough attention, so when I saw the #Sapphicathon, I wanted to participate – both to get my own reading mojo back and also to hopefully help boost such a great idea! 

What can we expect from you next?

Julia EmberI just sent the manuscript of The Seafarer’s Kiss sequel to my editor! (Final title to be announced very soon!) The sequel is told from the perspective of Ragna, a Viking shield maiden, and follows her quest to reclaim her homeland. We’re currently planning a Fall 2018 publication date. I’m also working on a couple of other projects with my agent. Hopefully we will have more news to share on those imminently! 
Originally from Chicago, Julia Ember now resides in Edinburgh with her partner, two cats and a pony. A world traveler since childhood, she has now visited more than sixty countries. Her travels inspire the fantasy worlds she creates, though she populates them with magic and monsters. Julia is a bisexual writer and regularly takes part in events for queer teens. She is the author of The Seafarer's Kiss and Unicorn Tracks

Connect with the Author:

Are you participating in this readathon? What is your TBR!

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